Rock Sample Observations
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Course: Physical Geology
I pass around a rock sample (often a migmatite). Each student has to stand, introduce him/herself, and make one observation. We keep a list of observations on the board. When the rock reaches the end of the class, I have them pass it back the other way so that each student gets to make an additional observation. The penalty if a student can't make a new observation is that he/she had to recite as many names of fellow students as possible. When the rock returns to me, I make a few additional observations and recite all of the students' names.
The purposes of this activity are
- to practice making observations
- to show the value of combining forces (25 brains are better than one)
- to point out the difference between observation and interpretation (interpretations always come up), and
- to start to get to know each other ("break the ice").