Teach the Earth > Sedimentary Geology > Sedimentology, Geomorphology, and Paleontology 2014 > Teaching Activities > Geomorphology and place

Geomorphology and place

Margaret E. (Beth) McMillan, University of Arkansas at Little Rock
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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

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This page first made public: Jun 10, 2014


Students choose a place that is named based on its relationship to geomorphology. They research and describe the geologic template, geologic processes and time involved in the formation of their chosen place and use Google Earth to report their results.



This course is an upper level elective Geomorphology course for geology majors.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Knowledge of lithology and map patterns
General knowledge of structure, tectonics, and surficial processes
Computer skills

How the activity is situated in the course

This is the fist lab.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal of this activity is to help students understand how geomorphology is the product of the underlying geology, the processes acting to form and modify that geology and the time it takes to create the resulting landscape.It introduces the basic framework for thinking about geomorphology which is to consider the geologic template, the geologic processes acting to form, modify and destroy that template and the time over which those processes are active. This exercise also requires the students to use Google Earth and document their work using 'kmz' files. I use Google Earth for many other exercises throughout the semester.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Higher order thinking skills involve the synthesis of ideas about how driving versus resisting forces acting over geologic time scales result in

Other skills goals for this activity

Other goals for this exercise include making sure students are able to extract useful information from appropriate sources accessed via the internet and that they can successfully create and submit digital content using Google Earth.

Description and Teaching Materials

This is lab 1 in Geomorphology. Students must have read Chapter 1 in their text. I introduce the lab by giving them a kmz file with an example and we go through the example together. I also open the Google Earth tutorial websites to make sure that all students know where they can find information on how to use and build content for use in Google Earth.
Student handout for Geomorphology and Place (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 17kB Jun10 14)
Little_Rock (KMZ File 1.1MB Jun10 14)

Teaching Notes and Tips


Successful application of concepts and skills on the following lab exercises and exam questions.

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