Geologic Mapping and Geologic History: Sheep Mountain, Wyoming
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
"Your ultimate goal is to be able to reconstruct the geologic and structural history of the rocks in the area that you map. For example, what were the environments of deposition as the units were being deposited; what subsequent deformation occurred (folding and faulting); what does the area look like now and how did it get that way? What were local and regional influences on the rocks in your study area? There are some time and space relationships that are ambiguous. You should do your best to resolve these and justify your choices."
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Upon returning, students then use already acquired skills to process the stratigraphic and structural data, construct a geologic map, make stratigraphic and structural sections. These data then allow students to analyze local stress orientations and compare these to regional models that they have discovered through literature research. They then use their data to evaluate the validity of these various possible models. Finally they are ask for a critical self-evaluation of what they might have done differently through the course of the seven week project that might have allowed them to achieve more conclusive results.
Other skills goals for this activity
One thing that may be different is that they will be using iPads as both their map base and digital field book. Additionally, all of the representations of the "mps and cross-sections and strat columns are done in Adobe Illustrator. Once completed, the ability to turn layers on and off greatly enhanced the student's ability to visualize the geology and structure of the region.
Description and Teaching Materials
The file that I have submitted is the document describing the expectations for the field project discussed above. In addition to the field and research expectations, I have included the grading rubric for the submission of the report.
I have also included a list of common problems with papers observed after the first drafts have been reviewed. This list changes a little from year-to-year, but it is actually remarkable how often the same problems occur. This is not given to the students until after the first draft has been submitted.
Teaching Notes and Tips
The synthesis report is read both as a draft version and final report and evaluated according to the rubric provide with the supplementary materials. Two professor read each paper. The papers are kept so that longitudinal comparisons can be made on the effectiveness of the project.