Photographs of snow bank structures
Audrey C. Rule, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction
State University of New York at Oswego
Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications
This set of photographs was taken in February 2004 in Oswego, New York on the shore of Lake Ontario, an area that receives about five meters of snow each winter because of lake-effect. Prior to photography, a large tractor-mounted snowblower cut the vertical faces of the snow banks flat, exposing the underlying structures.
The audience ranges from elementary school to college students, depending upon the instructor's purpose.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students can use this activity to review stratigraphic concepts such as original horizontality and superposition.
How the activity is situated in the course
I suggest these slides be used to review principles of stratigraphy.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Students will recognize stratigraphic features in snow bank deposits.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Students will make observations and inferences.
Other skills goals for this activity
Students will develop explanations based on evidence.
Description of the activity/assignment
Students can review stratigraphic concepts such as original horizontality and superposition. The white layers are pure snow, the tan layers are a mixture of gravel, sand, salt, clay and snow. Dark layers are clay-sand-rich, wet with water from melting snow (salt has caused the snow to melt).
The Journal of Geoscience Education article Fourth Grade Students Investigate Stratigraphy through Experiments and Photographs of Snow Layers
provides an example of how this was used in the classroom.
Determining whether students have met the goals
More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips