Bedform mapping in a coastal environment
Bowdoin CollegeAuthor Profile
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Undergraduate majors course in sedimentary geology.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Prior to the exercise, students should have a descriptive introduction to bedforms and formative flows in unidirectional, oscillatory and combined flows.
How the activity is situated in the course
The activity is presented as a field exercise early in the course, setting the stage for later projects on quantitative aspects of bedforms and bedload transport, and for studies of sedimentary structures in outcrop.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
The activity gives students direct experience in recognizing, describing and mapping bedforms and relating them qualitatively to formative flows. Students become familiar with a diversity of bedforms within lower- and upper-flow regimes, as well as ripples formed by waves and by wind.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
During the prediction exercise, students essentially make hypotheses based on their current understanding of bedforms (i.e., without direct field experience). By comparing their predictions with observations and reflecting on differences, students critically evaluate their evolving understanding of bedforms and flows.
Other skills goals for this activity
Students gain experience with GPS units and digital cameras, and learn how to take effective field photographs of bedforms.
Description of the activity/assignment
Determining whether students have met the goals
Evaluation comprises checking field descriptions for accuracy and completeness, as well as reviewing students' assessments of the differences between their predictions and observations. Such comparisons commonly allow me to track the evolution of student's thinking, such that I can reinforce conceptual advances and/or correct persistent (or new) misconceptions. Asking for a synthesis of major flow patterns evaluates whether students can recognize the larger picture ("forest") from compilation of the details ("trees").More information about assessment tools and techniques.
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment (Microsoft Word 450kB Jul10 06)
- Instructors Notes (Microsoft Word 30kB Jul10 06)
- Extra copy of map (Microsoft Word 272kB Jul10 06)