Teach the Earth > Petrology > Teaching Activities > Beartooth Highway Field Trip and Activities

Beartooth Highway Field Trip and Activities

Darrell Henry and Dave Mogk
Louisiana State University and Montana State University
Author Profile

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: Jul 29, 2008


This day-long field trip was part of the Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century workshop. The activity description/assignment file provided below includes 3 field exercises, including outcrop observation and description, exploring the origin of migmitites in an outcrop, and critical thinking about the granitization debate. The file provided below also includes a field mapping exercise for Long Lake.

Used this activity? Share your experiences and modifications



This field trip and related exercises was used for a Teaching Petrology in the 21st Century workshop, but may be applicable to undergraduate and graduate courses in petrology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students should have an understanding of basic petrology and have basic mapping skills.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is a field exercise meant to reinforce concepts learned in class using real-world examples.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Goals of this activity are to teach fundamentals of petrology through regional examples and to instruct participants in the use of questions on a field trip.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

This activity involves synthesizing ideas and thinking critically about observations made in the field.

Other skills goals for this activity

This exercise may involve group work and writing/oral presentation skills, at the discretion of the instructor.

Description of the activity/assignment

During the course of the day, students examine the high-grade metasupracrustal rocks, related gneisses, and the late Archean granitoids and mafic dikes. We have prepared a number of exercises that might be done with classes at different levels. Depending on the background and preparation of your class you might want to emphasize different learning skills specific to the class level: observation, interpretation, integration (i.e. multiple lines of evidence focused on a given problem), and synthesis (i.e. relationship to the "big picture", drawing from the corpus of geologic knowledge). We have also prepared a compilation of our key scientific results, but these are under seal and we'd like you to do the exercises first as if you were students before taking a look at the supporting evidence.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Students have met the goals of this activity if they are engaged in the field trip and are answering the provided questions and completing the mapping exercise thoughtfully, thoroughly, and accurately.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

New TTE Logo Small

Teaching in the Field resources from across Teach the Earth »

Key Resources:

Join the Community:

or Search

Petrology resources from across Teach the Earth »

Key Resources:

Join the Community:

or search

Plate Tectonics resources from across Teach the Earth »