Red Beans and Rice: Slope failure experimental modeling
I use the full-blown assignment in my sophomore level geomorphology course as a stand-alone lab. Typically, students have done some slope profiling the field before this lab.
I have a scaled-down version that I use in a large, introductory geology course.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
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 of the activity/assignment
In this activity, students replicate the slope failure experiment presented by Densmore et al. (1997) in the journal Science. They are given the original article and the slope failure apparatus (along with all associated materials) and then they need to figure out how to replicate the experiment. Once they have completed an experimental run of sufficient length, they compile and analyze their data and compare it to the article's results.
After completing this portion of the lab, the students read the discussion and reply (Aalto et al., 1998; Densmore et al., 1998) and critically evaluate they results of the experiment and its applicability to the real world and landscape evolution.</P>
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 93kB Jun6 08)
- Instructors Notes (Acrobat (PDF) 61kB Jun6 08)
- Science article (Densmore et al., 1997) (Acrobat (PDF) 3.1MB Jun6 08)
- Data recording sheet (Acrobat (PDF) 30kB Jun6 08)
- Slope profile images from the lab (Acrobat (PDF) 2.5MB Jun6 08)
- Intro geology course short version (Acrobat (PDF) 41kB Jun6 08)
- Construction plans for the Densmore et al. (1997) red beans slope failure box (Acrobat (PDF) 597kB Aug1 08)