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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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Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis (College Level) part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with GIS:Examples
This is a college-level adaptation of a chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The students download global quake data over a time range and use GIS to interpret the tectonic context. -

Geologic Puzzles: Morrison Formation part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Images of faulted strata, tilted turbidites, and beach rocks bring the field into the classroom, giving students practice in doing what geoscientists do. These images are examples of geologic puzzles. -

Is Greenland Melting? part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:GreenlandMelt
DATA: Thickness, velocity, and annual melt extents of the Greenland ice sheet TOOL: My World GIS SUMMARY: Explore map layers to examine annual melting and long-term changes of Greenland's ice sheet.

The Sleeping Mountain part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this role-playing scenario, students represent townspeople whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by an active volcano which may or may not erupt in the near future. -

Finding the Moho under Milwaukee part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
A seismogram was recorded at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee by Keith Sverdrup during the explosive demolition of a section of the nearby Hoan Bridge on December 28, 2000. The explosive demolition and ...

Review for interdisiplinary science course (stream ecology, watersheds) part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
This is a large-scale participatory activity used to prompt students to review what they have learned and to think actively and cooperatively about the connections between the systems we have discussed prior to the ...

Plate Tectonics as Expressed in Geological Landforms and Events part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
This activity seeks to have students analyze global data sets on earthquake and volcano distributions toward identifying major plate boundary types in different regions on the Earth. A secondary objective is to familiarize students with two publicly available resources for viewing and manipulating geologically-relevant geospatial data: Google Earth(TM) and GeoMapApp.

How do Faults Slip: Earthquakes versus Episodic Tremor and Slip part of Cutting Edge:Deep Earth:Activities
A comparison of earthquakes and episodic tremor and slip using GPS and seismic data to illustrate how faults slip.

Introduction to Mineral Identification part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
The exercise uses an inquiry-based approached to overcome the fear of tackling mineral identification. Few instructions are given and students discover for themselves how to approach identification.

Fluvial and Alluvial Sedimentology Incorporating Google Earth part of Cutting Edge:Sedimentary Geology:Activities
A lab activity for an undergraduate sedimentary geology course focused on fluvial and alluvial sedimentology, incorporating Google Earth.

Coastal Erosion Online Discussion part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
This assignment is designed to get students to see the application of geology to a local problem, coastal erosion along the Lake Erie shoreline. I think the strength of this assignment is that many of the students ...

Is the New Madrid Seismic Zone at risk for a large earthquake? part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
In this lesson we discuss the controversy regarding the extent of seismic risk in the central United States today. We learn how to estimate earthquake recurrence interval using a variety of methods. This lesson ...

Characterizing Plate Boundaries part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
Students examine maps showing four different types of geologic data along three specific plate boundaries, and document the patterns in the data along each boundary. Next, they compare their observations to the ...

Geologic Mapping Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
This exercise is designed to simulate some of the mapping aspects of a basic geological investigation. This mock geological investigation is a good wrap-up exercise because it incorporates a variety of geological ...

Observing Streams & Rivers in Google Earth part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
Students are asked to observe fluvial features on both Earth and Mars in satellite images via Google Earth (as well as online panoramas) and explore processes of erosion and deposition and the relationship of ...

Guided Reading of Scientific Journal Articles part of Cutting Edge:Structural Geology:Activities
This is a sequence of assignments for my Structural Geology course that guides students through the process of critically reading and analyzing scientific journal articles. For each article, I outline the general ...

How Effective is a Remediation System at a Regional Landfill? part of Cutting Edge:Geochemistry:Activities
In this activity, students begin exploring the effectiveness of a remediation system installed at a closed landfill system. Students learn the importance of redox chemistry in a real-world context and build field ...

M & M Decay part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a simulation of radioactive decay which illustrates what a half-life is and explains some of the challenges involved with radiometric dating. Pennies or other cheap coins can be substituted for M&Ms if ...

Determining Earthquake Recurrence Intervals from Trench Logs part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Trench logs of the San Andreas Fault at Pallett Creek, CA are the data base for a lab or homework assignment that teaches about relative dating, radiometric dating, fault recurrence intervals and the reasons for uncertainty in predicting geologic phenomena. Students are given a trench log that includes several fault strands and dated stratigraphic horizons. They estimate the times of faulting based on bracketing ages of faulted and unfaulted strata. They compile a table with the faulting events from the trench log and additional events recognized in nearby trenches, then calculate maximum, minimum and average earthquake recurrence intervals for the San Andreas Fault in this area. They conclude by making their own prediction for the timing of the next earthquake.

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.

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