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Teaching Sedimentary Geology in the 21st Century
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Cutting Edge > Sedimentary Geology > Teaching Activities > Virtual Field Trip to the Book Cliffs

Virtual Field Trip to the Book Cliffs

Ann Holmes
,
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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 3, 2006

Summary

Problem-based learning techniques have been applied to geological datasets collected and published about the Cretaceous Book Cliffs exposures in Utah.

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Context

Audience

undergraduate sedimentary geology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

basic understanding of geologic principles: superposition, lateral continuity (Walther's Law), basic sedimentary rock identification

How the activity is situated in the course

Initially, I used this project as an introduction to the Fall semester course due to the heat, vegetation and wildlife in the South. When this class moves to the spring semester in 2008, I plan to shift this project's appearance to later during the semester.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

learn to graphically represent basic stratigraphic data

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

analysis of data > measured sections and thin-sections
hypothesis development > facies interpretations

Other skills goals for this activity

oral presentation skills, computer graphics experience, microscope experience

Description of the activity/assignment

In Exercise 1, students are given modified data published by Cole & Friberg, 1989, Stratigraphy and Sedimentation of the Book Cliffs, Utah. They follow instructions to construct a measured section. In Exercise 2, students work either with polarized microscopic photographs linked online to specific units in their measured section or directly with the thin-sections. Grain characteristics are measured and observed. In Exercise 3, facies units are determined on the basis of bedding, sedimentary structures, trace and macrofossil evidence. An interpreted facies overlay of their first graphically generated measured section. A table is also generated to support their facies determinations. In Exercise 4, correlations are made using an east-west transect of several stratigraphic sections. Shallowing-upward cycles and exposure and flooding surfaces are marked; lateral facies correlations are made.

Determining whether students have met the goals

The same 1-5 scaled rubric is used in all projects. Key elements of the rubric include demonstration of basic understanding of geologic principles illustrated, creating professional looking product that is turned in on time, and with correct spelling and grammar.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Home page for this course: http://web2.utc.edu/~rnj172/Stratigraphy303/index_sed.html

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