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Activity descriptions for teaching geoscientific thinking

These activity descriptions were submitted by faculty in preparation for the Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop in June 2012. In some cases, participants submitted a supplement calling out the ways in which the activities explicitly addressed teaching geoscientific thinking for a course they had previously submitted.

If you would like to add to this collection by contributing an activity, please fill out the Activity Submission Form or the Activity Supplement Form if you wish to supplement an activity you have previously submitted.


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Guided Discovery and Scoring Rubric for Petrographic Analysis of a Thin Section
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Dave Mogk, Montana State University.This page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity:A guided discovery approach is used to "unpack" the methods ...

Mineral Classification: What's in a Name
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
Dave Mogk, Montana State University.This page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity:Students derive their own scheme for identifying and naming minerals. ...

Think-Aloud Modeling of Geologic Reasoning in the Field
Steve Reynolds, Arizona State University - Downtown Phoenix
This activity involves explicitly sharing with students all the thoughts that occur to the instructor, as they occur, at a geologic field site. Assessment can be conducted with concept sketches.

Sea Floor Magnetism
Kyle Gray, University of Northern Iowa
Students use compasses and bar magnets to simulate the collection of sea floor magnetic polarity data. Even though the students do not directly observe the magnets, they use the information to infer tectonic processes present at the mid-ocean ridges and calculate the spreading rates for two different ridges.

Transport of heavy metals in the Clark Fork River
Kathleen Harper, University of Montana-Missoula, The
This is an activity about transport of sediment contaminated by copper, arsenic, and other heavy metals that was deposited into the Clark Fork River channel as the result of historical mining activity. The Clark Fork River between Butte and Milltown, Montana has been the focus of several large superfund projects designed to address the impacts of this legacy of mining in the watershed. This activity is used in an introductory physical geology lab (primarily non-majors) with students who may have limited experience working with quantitative analysis and analyzing graphs.

Exploring Earth Systems Science: The Interactive GLOBE Earth System Poster
Amy Ellwein, Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory

The Cube Exercise and the Methods of Science
Barbara Bekken, Virginia Tech
A new approach to using an exercise from the National Academy of Science publication "Teaching about Evolution and the Nature of Science" to support students in developing a deeper understanding of descriptive methods, experimental methods, and methodological assumptions.

The "What is Science?" Box
Jennifer Anderson, Winona State University
A group of 3-4 students are presented with a box that has writing on the five visible sides and asked to determine what is on the bottom of the box. In solving this problem, students are using the same techniques that scientists use to learn about nature.

Analyzing your Hometown Stream using On-line USGS NWIS Data
Laurel Goodell, Department of Geosciences, Princeton UniversityThis page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity:Students chose a stream of personal ...

Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods
Laurel Goodell, Princeton University
Laurel Goodell, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University.This page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity:Students come to this activity familiar ...


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