Interpreting the Geologic History of Canyon de Chelly
This is a two-part lesson designed to give secondary Earth Science teachers an opportunity to experience what it is like to be a field geologist. Teachers will combine field observations with information given in the lesson to interpret the geologic history of Canyon de Chelly, Arizona. Part one of the lesson occurs in the classroom with an overview of the regional geology and a review of some basic geologic concepts. Part two occurs in the field where teachers make observations about rock type, unconformities, structures, and erosion. The lesson concludes with a discussion about interpretation of data and multiple hypotheses.
Higher-order Thinking Skills: Students will integrate several different geologic concepts with their observations to interpret the geologic history of the area. Students will think critically about multiple hypotheses and determine if they make sense given the available data.
Other goal: To give teachers and students an opportunity to experience doing geologic field work and using the scientific method as it applies to the geosciences.
Methods of Geoscience
- Making detailed observations in the field.
- Development of hypotheses based on observations.
- Comparison of data and hypotheses to present knowledge base.
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
- Background and Instructional Procedures for Interpreting the Geologic History of Canyon de Chelly (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 132kB May10 12)
Teaching Notes and Tips
References and Resources
- Stratigraphy of Canyon de Chelly National Monument.
- National Park Service geology handout of Canyon de Chelly.
- Overview of the geologic history of the Colorado Plateau. (more info)
- National Park Service overview of Colorado Plateau province.
- Hopkins, R.L, 2002. Hiking the Southwest's Geology, Four Corners Region. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, WA.