Teach the Earth > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Beach Classification

Beach Classification

Lisa Davis
University of Alabama
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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 activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 2, 2008


This is an in-class activity that can be done in a relatively short time that requires the students to identify landforms and processes, and apply them in a geomorphic classification scheme. Can be used to discuss theoretical and applied topics and could have a quantitative component easily added by requiring students to calculate an omega value for the classification process.

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Undergraduate 300-level course in geomorphology for geology, geography, and environmental science majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Major types of coastlines, coastal processes, coastal landforms, and familiarity with the Wright and Short Beach Classification.

How the activity is situated in the course

A stand alone exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Landform and process identification for applied purposes.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Requires students to synthesize and interpret their observations of landforms and processes.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

This activity provides students with an in-class practice of landscape interpretation using slides of beaches shown by the instructor. Students view a select number of slides and are asked to classify each beach shown using the Wright and Short Beach Classification: dissipative, reflexive, and intermediate by visually identifying landforms and processes of each beach type. The outcome of this activity is that students have practice identifying landforms and processes and applying their observations and interpretations of geomorphic features and processes for an applied purpose.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Has minimal/no quantitative component

Determining whether students have met the goals

Correct identification of beach types with supporting rationale.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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