Teach the Earth > Discoveries from Mars > Activities and Assignments > Geologic Mapping on Mars

Geologic Mapping on Mars

G de Villiers / D T King
Auburn University
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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 page first made public: May 10, 2006


This lab acivity gives students the opportunity to choose an area to map (with tracing paper and coloured pencils) from among some varied Martian terrains.

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Lunar and Planetary Geology class; currently offered at Auburn University as a 3000-level course.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have completed a freshman physical geology course and have some geologic mapping background.

How the activity is situated in the course


Content/concepts goals for this activity

This activity will familiarize students with Martian stratigraphy and geology and reinforce basic mapping concepts.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students will learn to describe and interpret geological units and features such as impact craters and estimate relative ages.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students will acquire mapping skills and other related skills associated with the preparation of a geological map, as well as experiencing group work and team dynamics.

Description of the activity/assignment

This lab is part of a Lunar and Planetary Geology course offered to both geology and non-geology majors, and it involves basic geological mapping of an area within the Tyrrhena Patera region on Mars. Students are encouraged to work in groups to prepare a geological map from a photomosaic map and to interpret the geologic stratigraphy from a geological map of the greater area. This activity reinforces mapping skills as well as group work skills, and aims to teach students more about Martian stratigraphy and geology through a hands-on activity.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students seem to understand the concept fairly well, however, some final products are less well done than others. This however is not interpreted as lack of interest since students seem generally keen to participate in this activity.

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