Quantitative Skills > Teaching Resources > Activities > Prework for Rivers and Streams Lab (Intro Geology)

Prework for Rivers and Streams Lab (Intro Geology)

Rachel Teasdale

California State University Chico
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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: Jul 26, 2006


This activity is part of a collection under development by participants in a June 2006 workshop. Tested versions will be available soon.

In order to give Introductory Geology (Physical Geology) undergraduate non-majors students experience and confidence in using basic algebra to calculate very simple stream flow properties, we use a prework assignment prior to the Rivers and Streams Lab. Prework is a worksheet assigned 2 weeks in advance, which asks students to calculate velocity and discharge as well as unit conversions and calculations of stream load. The questions are put into the context of activities they completed earlier in the semester during visits to the stream (on campus) so questions are relevant to their previous experiences. The prework timeframe gives students the opportunity to seek extra help from their instructor prior to the lab period in which they will make additional measurements, similar calcualations and interpretations of their data.

Learning Goals

The content goal is for students to be able to collect data and calculate stream flow properties.
By the end of the lab, students should be able to compare stream flow properties from different seasons, using calculations from the pre-work activity and the lab activity.
The prework activity is designed specifically to give students the opportunity to refresh their math skills, gain confidence in using simple calculations and to seek help from their TA in advance of the lab activity.

Context for Use

Undergraduate non-majors, introductory Geology course, satisfies a GE in physical science with a lab.
This activity reviews basic math (algebra) skills to refresh their skills before using similar calculations (e.g. velocity, discharge) in lab activities.
This activity is prework before the Rivers & Streams lab which is held towards the end of the semester (week 13) of a 15 week semester.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Teaching Materials

Streams Prework (Microsoft Word 161kB Jun27 06)


Students work is collected and graded, along with the work completed in lab.

References and Resources

Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Geoscience:Hydrology:Ground Water: Field methods in hydrogeology, Geoscience:Hydrology:Surface Water, Geoscience:Hydrology, Geology, Hydrology:Ground Water:Water cycle/groundwater-surface water interface
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity, Field Activity:Importation of field observations into the classroom, Field trip , Activities:Field Activity, Field Activity:Field laboratories
Special Interest: Field-Based Teaching and Learning, Quantitative
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
Quantitative Skills: Units and Unit Conversions, Algebra, Graphs:Contouring, Graphs, Logarithms/Exponential Functions:Logarithms, Logarithms/Exponential Functions
Ready for Use: Ready to Use
Earth System Topics: Solid Earth, Hydrology, Surface Water, Ground Water
Topics: Hydrosphere/Cryosphere, Groundwater: Field methods in hydrogeology, Water cycle/groundwater-surface water interface, Hydrosphere/Cryosphere:Surface Water, Earth surface
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Teaching Topics:Water, Teach the Earth:Enhancing your Teaching:Teaching in the Field, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Hydrology/Hydrogeology

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