Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > Spring Break-Weathering Homework

Spring Break-Weathering Homework

Dori Farthing
SUNY Geneseo
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection

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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 16, 2008


This short assignment gets students thinking about and looking for geology while on spring break. Students are asked to photograph a feature of weathering and they must be in the picture. Students must then do a short write-up explaining what they observe and to explain the geological process. This assignment can also be expanded to include mass wasting and mass wasting prevention.

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This assignment is aimed at introductory physical geology students.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

They must know the basics of weathering.

How the activity is situated in the course

It is a stand alone exercise that is given before break (or a long weekend) that is given as a homework assignment.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Through this exercise, students solidify their understanding of weathering through the description and interpretation of weathering features in real life, not just through pictures on a screen or in a book.

Another goal for the students is that this assignment tasks them to write down their observations and then to interpret them using the class-based knowledge.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This assignment challenges students to apply the geological topic of weathering to things they encounter in their own lives.

Other skills goals for this activity

This assignment also asks that students be able to clearly describe their observations and explain the process in written format.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students are asked to photograph something that shows either physical or chemical weathering. They must be in the photograph for purposes of scale. They must then write up their description of the weathering feature and explain the actual weathering processes. This assignment can also be expanded to include mass wasting and mass wasting prevention.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students must include themselves in the image. Without this, students will automatically lose 50%. The other portion of the grade is based upon their ability to describe their weathering feature and correctly explain the weathering process.

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