Teaching Geochemistry

Geochemistry is a key part of many geoscience disciplines and explores the fundamental chemistry that drives Earth and planetary systems and processes therein. This website aims to support your teaching of geochemistry by providing course and activity ideas, successful pedagogic techniques, and a wealth of other resources.

Jump down to: Course Design & Pedagogy | Resource Collections | Special Topics | Workshops & Events | Get Involved

Designing an Effective Geochemistry Course

1. Set goals

Learn more about setting effective course goals in the Course Design Tutorial. You can also browse course descriptions and syllabi from your colleagues to see what topics your colleagues are teaching about.

2. Consider assessment options

Aligning your assessment strategies with the goals of your course is an essential part of the design process. You can learn more about assessment in the section about Assessing Student Learning in the Course Design Tutorial and through our module on Observing and Assessing Student Learning.

3. Select pedagogies and teaching activities

The pedagogic techniques highlighted below can provide inspiration as you consider various approaches that will help you achieve your course goals. The resource collections are organized to provide a rich set of materials to draw from in constructing the specific set of learning experiences you want for your students. Finally, explore the more in-depth information and ideas available in special topics.

Selected Pedagogical Approaches

Geochemistry courses help students build a variety of skills and critical thinking abilities. A selection of general pedagogies that lend themselves to the geosciences are found in the Teaching Methods module. One approach specifically useful to geochemistry skill development is

  • Teaching with Geochemical Data: Whether students have access to geochemical instrumentation to gather data themselves or you are interested in using existing data sets, teaching with geochemical data will help solidify students' understanding of key geochemical principles.

Resource Collections

Once you've identified the core learning goals for your course, you can use them to focus your search for relevant materials in our resource collections. The materials listed below reflect the contributions of faculty members from across the country.

  • Course descriptions and syllabi, including learning goals and supporting information.
  • Selected resources for teaching Geochemistry: Jump start your Geochemistry course with this list of recommended resources that are organized by topic.
  • Teaching activities: Ready to use in the classroom, this collection includes activities, lab exercises, problem sets, and more. Descriptions of the activities include contextual information as well as learning goals, teaching materials, and assessment strategies.
  • Visualizations that can be helpful in teaching concepts related to geochemistry.
  • Additional resources: Websites and print resources recommended by faculty who teach about geochemistry.

Special Topics

Workshops and Events

  • 2013 Teaching Hydrogeology, Soils, and Low-T Geochemistry in the 21st Century: This workshop will bring together faculty who teach courses in hydrogeology, soils, low-T geochemistry, biogeochemistry, and upper level environmental geoscience to address questions of how to teach these disciplines most effectively at the undergraduate level. Application deadline is February 15, 2013.
  • Teaching Mineralogy, Petrology, and Geochemistry in the 21st Century: Participants at an August 2011 workshop explored best practices in teaching mineralogy, petrology, and geochemistry in the context of modern advances in understanding Earth systems, analytical and field methods, and information technologies. View the workshop program to download presentations and supporting materials. This workshop built on the success of previous workshops including the 1996 Teaching Mineralogy Workshop and the 2003 Teaching Petrology Workshop.
  • 2010 Teaching Geochemistry Workshop: A workshop on teaching undergraduate geochemistry was held June 11-13, 2010 at the University of Tennessee, in Knoxville, TN. This workshop preceded the 2010 Annual Goldschmidt Conference. The workshop program contains presentations that were given at the workshop.
  • 2005 Teaching Geochemistry Workshop: A workshop on teaching undergraduate geochemistry was held May 18-20, 2005 at the University of Idaho in Moscow, ID. This workshop preceded the 2005 Annual Goldschmidt Conference. View the workshop program to download presentations and other supporting materials.

Get Involved

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