Teach the Earth > Online Teaching > Finding Lab Activities Online

Finding Lab Activities Online

As many us work on developing online courses we have to ask ourselves how to implement lab activities. Listed below are some example lab activities that you might find useful as examples of others have used or even as lab activities to have your students do. Please make sure when using these activities to acknowledge the authors of the page. If you know of other sources of activities that you find useful for online courses, we encourage you to fill out an activity submission form or contact Karin Kirk.

General

  • Exploring Earth Investigations by McDougal Littell Publishing - numerous online activities that use animations, interactive graphics, and imagery to help students gather information gleaned from lecture content
  • Geology Lab Videos by Tom Braziunas at North Seattle Community College - students can view short video demonstrations of some of the physical geology lab activities
  • Reynolds, et al. 2010. Exploring Geology, 2nd Edition. McGraw-Hill Publishing. ISBN: 978-0-07-337668-4. The instructor DVD comes equipped with some great Google Earth exercises that would work well for online labs. In addition, it also has investigations at the end of each chapter that could be used for online labs.

Virtual Field Trips

Plate Tectonics

  • Plate tectonics laboratory using plate motions (3 exercises) by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – interactive maps showing movement relative movement of plates, are multiple choice and self-checking.
  • Jules Verne Voyager- This is an interactive map developed by UNAVCO where students can add earthquakes, stress axes, volcanoes, or plate boundaries to the entire world or by country. For more information on the project as well as instructions on how to use the site: http://jules.unavco.org/VoyagerJrDocs/lib/help/Earth/helpoverview.html (there is no direct link to the interactive map from this site; however, it contains important instructions).

Minerals

  • Online rock and mineral identification kit by Jonathan Evenick of the University of Tennessee – provides photographs and descriptions of various rocks and minerals.
  • Mineral identification and properties using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – students can identify minerals photographs based on mineral property choices. (Note: This site has been taken down. Contact us if you know of a suitable replacement.)
  • Mineral 101 by Kerry Cupit - A browseable online mineral database (with photos) and interactive quizzes/tests.
  • Searchable mineral database by Amethyst Galleries, Inc.: Students can search for minerals by class or alphabetically. Descriptions of each mineral include physical properties, crystallography information, common uses, and chemical formulas as well as pictures.
  • Mineral identification by Dave Jessey and Don Tarman through Cal State Pomona – students can use this site as a step-by-step tutorial to identify mineral sample. (Note: This site has been taken down. Contact us if you know of a suitable replacement.)

Igneous Rocks

  • Igneous rock identification using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – students can identify igneous rock photographs based on rock property choices, self-checking.
  • Igneous rock identification by Dave Jessey and Don Tarman through Cal State Pomona – students can use this site as a step-by-step tutorial to identify igneous rock samples. (Note: This site has been taken down. Contact us if you know of a suitable replacement.)

Sedimentary Rocks

  • Sedimentary rock identification using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – students can identify sedimentary rock photographs based on rock property choices, self-checking.

Metamorphic Rocks

  • Metamorphic rock identification using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – students can identify metamorphic rock photographs based on rock property choices, self-checking.
  • Metamorphic rock identification by Dave Jessey and Don Tarman through Cal State Pomona – students can use this site as a step-by-step tutorial to identify metamorphic rock samples. (Note: This site has been taken down. Contact us if you know of a suitable replacement.)

Earthquakes

  • Virtual Earthquake through Virtual Courseware – students locate an earthquake's epicenter and determine its Richter Magnitude.
  • World-Wide Earthquake Locator by the Edinburgh Earth Observatory: An interactive map where students can turn on and off features such as earthquakes, plate boundaries and names, faults, volcanoes, etc. to see relationships.

Volcanoes

  • Stromboli online - Volcanoes of the World by Jürg Alean, Roberto Carniel and Marco Fulle – this website can be used for virtual fieldtrips as well as a resource.
  • Volcanic materials identification using photographs by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – students can identify volcanic material photographs based on property choices, self-checking.
  • Volcanoes laboratory by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – a laboratory on volcanic processes, multiple choice and self-checking.

Deformation

  • How do rocks respond to stress? Exploring Earth by McDougal Littell Publishing: This is a 3 step investigation into deformation. In step 2, students can investigate the role of brittle vs ductile environments in relation to compressional, tensional, and shear stresses. Once the parameters are selected, an animation plays to show the impact on rock layers.
  • Learn Structural Geology by Rob Butler at the University of Leeds: Within the site you will find links so that students can learn about structural geology as well as go on virtual field trips. Question assignment could be designed to go along with field trips. In addition, there is a virtual mapping project.

Geologic Time

  • Interpreting geologic sections through Athro, Limited – students can test their knowledge of principles of geologic time through animations.
  • Radioactive dating game through PhET.Colorado.edu – students can learn about different types of radiometric dating, such as carbon dating. Understand how decay and half-life work to enable radiometric dating to work. Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.
  • Virtual dating through Virtual Courseware – students learn how geologists and archeologists determine the ages of rocks and ancient artifacts in these two activities: Isochron Dating and Radiocarbon Dating.
  • Relative dating laboratory by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – a laboratory on relative dating, multiple choice and self-checking.
  • Radiometric dating laboratory by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – a laboratory on radiometric dating, multiple choice and self-checking.

Paleontology

  • Online rock and fossil identification kit by University of Tennessee – provides photographs and descriptions of various rocks and fossils.
  • Virtual museum of fossils by Valdosta State University.
  • Fossils 101 by Kerry Cupit - A browseable online fossil database (with photos) and interactive quizzes/tests.

Topographic Maps

  • Remote sensing laboratory by Richard Harwood of Black Hawk College – a laboratory on remote sensing, multiple choice and self-checking.
  • Examples of landforms on topographic maps by Susan Slaymaker - website includes numerous example images that can be used to develop an online lab activity.
  • Topographic map examples which illustrate symbols commonly used on maps for cultural and natural features by Susan Slaymaker - website includes numerous example images that can be used to develop an online lab activity.
  • Examples of topographic maps selected to illustrate common geologic processes, cultural features and topographic map symbols by Susan Slaymaker – website includes numerous example images that can be used to develop an online lab activity.

Groundwater

Streams

  • Virtual River through Virtual Courseware. Students learn about river processes in these two activities: River Discharge and River Flooding.

Coasts

  • How do storms affect coastlines? an investigation through Exploring Earth by McDougal Littell Publishing - a step-by-step look at coastlines, includes questions.
  • See topographic maps above for links to landform maps.

Deserts

Glaciers

  • Glaciers simulation through PhET.Colorado.edu. Students can adjust mountain snowfall and temperature to see the glacier grow and shrink. Use scientific tools to measure thickness, velocity and glacial budget.
  • See topographic maps above for links to landform maps.

Natural Hazards Datasets for Google Earth







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