Dale Sawyer

Earth Science

Rice University

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects


Discovering Plate Boundaries part of NAGT:Teaching Resources:Teaching Materials Collection
Students work collaboratively using data maps to discover plate tectonic boundary processes. Data sets used are earthquakes, volcanos, seafloor age, and topography. The authors below have submitted variations of this activity. Rock-Tectonics synthesis lab Dori Farthing, SUNY Geneseo This lab aims to draw together rock identification and plate tectonics as well as relative age relationships. Students look at four major types of rocks and determine in which tectonic environment they were created. Characterizing Plate Boundaries Bill Hirt, College of the Siskiyous This version presents an extensive description of how the activity can be used in an online class and how one might make adaptations of their own to use the activity in their class. Plate Tectonics Jigsaw Anne Egger, Central Washington University (formerly at Stanford University) This version of the activity emphasizes the difference between observation and inference and demonstrates how geoscientists often must draw conclusions based on incomplete datasets. For this activity, Anne has also included more information on each the maps. Geology Map Observations Stephanie S. Erickson, Saint Paul Public Schools, Washington Technology Magnet Middle School This version of the activity has been tailored specifically for use with 8th grade students including information about how to make the activity appropriate for English Language Learners. Discovering Plate Boundaries Alison Henning, Rice University This version of the activity provides a description of an assessment requiring groups of students to use the knowledge they have gained in drawing plate boundaries to describe the plate boundary types surrounding a particular plate. Investigating Plate Tectonics with Google Earth, Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO Instead of using printed maps, this version has students conduct their observation and data collection using Google Earth. A Google Earth tutorial is also provided. Using Google Earth to Explore Plate Tectonics Laurel Goodell, Department of Geosciences, Princeton University This version also uses Google Earth, but the instructor provides a kmz file to provide even more robust and up-to-date information for students. This version also requires students to draw a cross-section through a plate boundary so the instructor can assess whether students are correctly visualizing the processes. Introduction to Plate Tectonics by Elizabeth Cochran, University of California, Riverside In this version, students draw several diagrams and graphs to reinforce the data presented in figures. Students are also asked to think critically about plate rates and what happens to the crust at the different plate boundaries. Interpretation of plate boundaries from topography, bathymetry, volcanoes, and earthquake focal depths using Google Earth and OneNote by Jeffrey A. Nunn , Department of Geology and Geophysics, Louisiana State University After the initial investigation of the four different datasets, students are asked to plot a cross-section of topography/bathymetry and earthquake focal depths in OneNote and determine the type of plate boundary in this version.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Program Assessment Experiences part of Building Strong Geoscience Departments:Workshops:Assessing Geoscience Programs:Participant Essays
Dale Sawyer, Earth Science Department, Rice University Explicit learning objectives, assessment tools, and evaluation plans, became part of our world at Rice University about 3 years ago. The change was not ...

Events and Communities

Assessing Geoscience Programs: Theory and Practice Participants