Teach the Earth > Geomorphology > Teaching Activities > Connecting Soils and Glacial Geology

Connecting Soils and Glacial Geology

Holly Dolliver
University of Wisconsin - River Falls
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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 lab activity allows students to connect soil information to geologic processes/history.

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This activity was designed for an upper division undergraduate course in geomorphology. This activity could also be used for a soil pedology course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

This activity assumes that students are familiar with glacial landforms and associated sediment types, as well as a basic understanding of soil profile descriptions. No prior knowledge of Soil Survey's is needed, although I generally begin with some background information.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity is a stand-alone excercise completed in lab.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Demonstrate the ability to find soils information using a soil survey, identification of landforms from soils and topographic maps

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analyze and interpret soil profile descriptions and soil maps, connect soils information to geologic processes

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

The goal of this activity is to provide students an opportunity to connect soil science to surficial geology by using a Soil Surveys. By the end of the activity, students should be able to use a Soil Survey to identify and interpret landforms and surficial features. This activity can be adapted to variety of process (ex. eolian deposits, glacial deposits, bedrock weathering, etc.). County-level soil surveys are available in both paper and online formats for the majority of the United States.
Designed for a geomorphology course
Has minimal/no quantitative component

Determining whether students have met the goals

Assessment is based on their hand-in sheet.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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