Cutting Edge > Petrology > Teaching Activities > Magma Modification in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith

Magma Modification in the central Sierra Nevada Batholith

Jennifer Wenner
,
University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jul 21, 2008

Summary

This exercise is centered around a suite of rocks from the Sierra Nevada batholith. The activities are designed to give petrology students a capstone experience for the igneous portion of the upper-level Petrology course. Students are given thin sections with hand samples, a map and a table of geochemical analyses (in Excel format) and asked to record hand-sample and thin section observations with the idea that these will be used to understand processes that were active during batholith generation.

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Context

Audience

This exercise is designed for a sophomore or junior level petrology course that is required for majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

How the activity is situated in the course

By the time they encounter this lab, the students have spent at least 7 lab periods looking at a variety of igneous rocks and their textures. Because students are given geochemical analyses, they are also expected to experiment with the use of graphs (e.g., Harker and spider diagrams) to better understand tables of geochemical analyses.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity is designed to help students synthesize data and observations to build a coherent story around these rocks; the final product is a short paper in which they use petrographic observations and geochemical diagrams to back up their interpretations.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This activity involves critical thinking, synthesis of ideas, and data analysis.

Other skills goals for this activity

This activity involves writing.

Description of the activity/assignment

This exercise is centered around a suite of rocks from the Sierra Nevada batholith. The activities are designed to give petrology students a capstone experience for the igneous portion of the upper-level Petrology course. Students are given thin sections with hand samples, a map and a table of geochemical analyses (in Excel format) and asked to record hand-sample and thin section observations with the idea that these will be used to understand processes that were active during batholith generation. By the time they encounter this lab, the students have spent at least 7 lab periods looking at a variety of igneous rocks and their textures. Because students are given geochemical analyses, they are also expected to experiment with the use of graphs (e.g., Harker and spider diagrams) to better understand tables of geochemical analyses. The students use observations about rocks and geochemistry to build a coherent story around these rocks; the final product is a short paper in which they use petrographic observations and geochemical diagrams to back up their interpretations.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have successfully completed this exercise if they are able to write a coherent story about their petrographic observations and geochemical data to back up interpretatoins of the Sierra Nevada batholith.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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