Drawing unconformities

Gina S. Szablewski
University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
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Thess simple sketches are used in class to show the development of different unconformities.

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Introductory physical geology course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

No specific skills are needed to complete this activity.

How the activity is situated in the course

The activity takes place during lecture and as a break from lecture.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

The goal for this activity is to show that time and multiple events are involved in the creation of an unconformity even though it is not represented by any specific rock unit.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Application and exemplification of tectonics, sedimentary, igneous, and metamorphic/deformation processes to create what may appear to be an ordinary contact in a geologic outcrop. Looking at it the opposite way, deconstructing an outcrop to tell the story of how the unconformity formed. Integration of the time involved in geologic processes.

Other skills goals for this activity

Practicing drawing skills necessary for geology.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a simple exercise that can be done in class, either in groups or with the guidance of a teacher. The development of unconformities is broken down into four simple steps to tell the story of how they are formed. Students draw the images with the goal of them integrating prior knowledge about processes and new knowledge regarding relative time.

Determining whether students have met the goals

A simple rubric can be created to determine whether or not goals are met if they drawings are to be handed in for grading after they are created in class. Otherwise, they keep their drawings, and are asked to recreate them on quizzes or exams, and to describe what the drawings represent. The same rubric would be used in either situation.

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