Integrated Critical Zone project
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
1. Basic concepts of soils and soil horizons
2. Basic concepts from hydrogeology: the likely shape of the water table near a perennial stream, the vadose and phreatic zones, etc.
3. How to use library and web resources to locate soils and geologic data for their location
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 and Teaching Materials
The attached file contains the handout for students. In this case the assignment is written as an open-book exam, but it could also be a homework project.Student handout for Critical Zone project (Acrobat (PDF) 32kB Apr15 13)
Teaching Notes and Tips
Provide two sheets of 11x17 paper for this assignment, one for a working sketch and one to turn in.
You will almost certainly want to provide a different area of the world for your project. It is useful to choose an area near a body of perennial surface water to pin down the location of the potentiometric surface, and an area for which a geologic map with cross sections is available.
Depending on the students' background, they may not know how to search for soil survey information. I have directed them to the old print copies of the soil survey in the past (available at the library) because they contain maps and are easily understandable. Alternatively you could direct students to the web soil survey at http://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htmhttp://websoilsurvey.nrcs.usda.gov/app/HomePage.htm