Case Study: Zhouqu, China Landslide
- Introductory Environmental Geology or Physcial Geology courses for primarily non-science majors.
- Grades 9-12 Earth or Environmental Science or Physical Science courses
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Students should have a basic knowledge of landslide/slope failure processes prior to completing this research assignment.
For example, students should have a basic understanding of the following in order to complete the assignment:
- angle of repose
- effects of various earth materials on slope failure
- anthropogenic vs natual causes and effects
- For example:
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
I assign this project so that students can relate real-world landslides to the processes they have learned through in-class activities. By the time I give the assignment, students have learned the basic concepts of slope failure, both natural and anthropogenic. This project provides students with a means of applying what they have learned by discussing the causes and effects of the Zhouqu Landslide. Additionally, I have the students present their summaries in the format of a magazine article, allowing this interdisciplinary population of students to incorporate their creativity into their research project. The results have been astounding! I have received a startling array of articles - Ranger Rick, National Geographic, Glamour, and even special editions of local newspapers! This project is very successful.
Teaching Notes and Tips
Zhouqu, China Landslide project description in Word format
Zhouqu China Landslide project assignment description (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 26kB May22 12)
I have a basic rubric that I use to assess the learning goals for this project.
Zhouqu China Landslide project rubric (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 19kB May22 12)
References and Resources
I begin the class by showing this incredible video of the 1993 Malaysia spectacular collapse of a tin mine in a landslide: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Ma0SVjMHA