Pinnacle Mountain Field Project

Margaret E. (Beth) McMillan
Univ. of Arkansas at Little Rock
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Students collect, analyze, and interpret field data and identify and read literature on the possible origins of the block-fields on Pinnacle Mountain, central Arkansas.

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Undergraduate geomorphology course - upper-level elective.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Rock and mineral identification. Pace and compass methods. Topographic map interpretation.

How the activity is situated in the course

A culminating project.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

evaluation and interpretation of grain size, roughness, and orientation; construction of topographic profiles; compilation of field notes

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

formulation of hypotheses; data analysis; critical evaluation of competing models

Other skills goals for this activity

literature search; working with a field partner; operating hand-held GPS/PDA device.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students work in teams and on their own to determine the most likely origin of block fields on Pinnacle Mountain, central AR. Teams of two or three students collect and analyze field data on grain size, roughness, and orientation of boulders on Pinnacle Mountain. On their own, students research possible origins of block fields and interpret their results in a written report. This activity provides students with practice using field skills (including GPS/PDA experience), interpreting data, reading the literature, developing hypotheses, working in teams, and report writing.
Designed for a geomorphology course

Determining whether students have met the goals

The project instructions include a list of questions that must be addressed in the written report. I use this list as the rubric for assessing student performance.

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