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AP/IB/Honors Geoscience Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level geoscience courses. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.

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Roping Geologic Time part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

The Evolution of Earth through Time part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This activity is designed for large freshman courses (>200 students) and is used in-class. The activity requires a short (15 minute) overview of Earth history before students have the opportunity to work through ...

Hierarchical Alignment of Timelines part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
In the hierarchical alignment activity students progressively and hierarchically align scale information to a spatial linear representation. The progressive alignment of scales may alleviate the conceptual ...

Aerial photo interpretation and mapping - Bayou Meda anticline, Arkansas part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Activities
Multi-day project using aerial photography and field observation to map and interpret a megascopic anticline/syncline pair exposed in the Ouachita Mountains of central Arkansas. This exercise involves two classroom ...

A Cross-Section and Geologic History from Field Data Collected by Second Year Students in the St Francois Mountains of Missouri part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Activities
This field activity takes place during a 3-day field trip to St Francois Mountains, Missouri. Students use their field data to construct a cross-section through a portion of the field area.

Field Trip to Enfield Glen, NY Finger Lakes Region part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Activities
This is a 2.5 hour field trip in which students search through strata of the Upper Devonian Catskill Delta for paleocurrent indicators that allow them to infer paleogeographic differences between Devonian and ...

Depositional Environments and Geologic History Labs part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a pair of labs that incrementally prepare students to interpret the geologic history of a rock sequence. The first lab introduces students to depositional environments and fossils. The second lab presents a ...

Global Earthquakes: Teaching about Earthquakes with Data and 3D Visualizations part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
In this series of visualizations and accompanying activities, students visualize the distribution and magnitude of earthquakes and explore their distribution at plate boundaries. Earthquakes are visualized on a 3D ...

Recognizing and mapping faults using lidar and field data part of Cutting Edge:Structural Geology:Structure, Geophysics, and Tectonics 2012:Activities
In this activity, students create a geologic map and cross-section of the Fish Springs cinder cone and surrounding area in the Owens Valley, CA, using a high-resolution DEM developed from airborne lidar data as a ...

Monument Creek hydraulics project part of Cutting Edge:Geomorphology:Activities
This is a several-part field and computer-based project that involves students in measurement of stream-channel geometry, basic stream-hydraulics calculations, and flood-frequency analysis. Its primary strengths ...

Red Beans and Rice: Slope failure experimental modeling part of Cutting Edge:Geomorphology:Activities
Students replicate a slope failure experiment published in Science (Densmore et al., 1997) using a simple, acrylic slope failure box in an effort to forge a link between autocyclic processes, long-term landscape ...

Mapping Local Data in a GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:MyMap
DATA: Student-collected GPS data and site characterizations TOOLS: MyWorld GIS, spreadsheet program - Follow a study of Urban Heat Islands as an example of map-based science research projects.

Fluvial Geomorphology of the Upper Yellowstone River Drainage Basin: Using Google Earth to Analyze Rivers part of Cutting Edge:Geomorphology:Activities
Students will learn how to make measurements and collect data using Google Earth and NIH ImageJ.

Poleward Heat Transport Jigsaw part of Cutting Edge:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
Based on great plate tectonic exercise by Sawyer et al. (2005 JGE), this small-group exercise with maps of data about earth's energy balance helps students visualize poleward heat transport.

Guided Discovery and Scoring Rubric for Petrographic Analysis of a Thin Section part of Cutting Edge:Metacognition:Activities
A guided discovery approach is used to "unpack" the methods and observations used by "master" petrographers in the petrographic analysis of a thin section. A series of spread sheets are used to ...

Carbon Footprint Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Climate Change:Activities
We designed a three-step assignment for students in introductory geoscience that asks them to calculate their carbon footprint during one specific week. The goal of the assignment is to increase student awareness ...

Cladogram Construction and Vertebrate Phylogeny part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are given pictures of a variety of extant vertebrates. They work in groups to determine which animals are most closely related. Following a series of clicker questions and a discussion of the ...

When Pond Scum Ruled the Earth - The Proterozoic Fossil Record part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this specimen-based activity, students examine microfossils and stromatolites and build an understanding of the Proterozoic paleontological record.

Paleoecology Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

A Geologic Safari of the East African Rift and the Newark Basin: Why these areas are more alike than you know part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This activity explores the similarity and differences between the Newark Rift Basin and East African Rift.