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Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience > Undergraduate Research > Examples > SEM/EDS Beach Sands
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Analyzing beach sands with a SEM/EDS

Rachel Beane, Bowdoin College, rbeane@bowdoin.edu

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: May 10, 2006

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project

Summary

In this laboratory exercise, students pose a question that can be answered using the SEM and sand they collected from beach profiles. Then, they use the SEM to answer their question or test their hypothesis.

Learning Goals

Goals

Skills

Context for Use

This is designed for a three hour laboratory exercise in an introduction to physical geology course.

Teaching Materials

No handouts are used for this exercise.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Groups of two to six students work well in the SEM lab: one student controls the joystick, one student controls the mouse, and they switch responsibilities during the lab. Groups larger than two seem to promote discussion better than smaller groups. However, groups larger than six are not ideal, because not all students are actively involved. This exercise might be done over more than one laboratory period, with students working on other exercises when they are not using the SEM.

Assessment

Approximately two page report written by each student with sections addressing the question/hypothesis, methods, data, and interpretation.

References and Resources

Partial support for developing this exercise came from NSF 9951390.

Beane, R. J., 2004. Using the scanning electron microscope for discovery based learning in undergraduate courses. Journal of Geoscience Education, v. 52, p. 250-253.


Subject

Geoscience:Oceanography:Physical , Geoscience:Geology:Sedimentary Geology, Mineralogy:Mineral Analysis

Resource Type

Activities:Lab Activity

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Earth System Topics

Surface Processes:Coastal Processes, Solid Earth:Earth Materials:Rocks, Minerals

Topics

Ocean:Physical Oceanography, Earth surface, Solid Earth, :Mineralogy:Mineral Analysis, Earth surface:Sedimentary Geology

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