Marine Geology Using GEODE

Thursday, Friday 8:30am-11:30am Lawson 012


Kristen St. John, James Madison University
Callan Bentley, Piedmont Virginia Community College

Marine sediments and the geology of the ocean basins are important content topics in all oceanography courses. However these can be "dry" topics to teach, and may be difficult for students to appreciate. This workshop will introduce three resources that use Google Earth and can be used to help instructors and students explore these topics in highly visual and constructive ways. These resources were developed as part of the NSF-funded GEODE project and include a curriculum unit (with instructor guide) on marine sediments, a virtual marine sediment core kit, and a virtual guided tour of the ocean basins. Participants will be introduced to the resources and will also have the opportunity during the workshop to co-develop short exercises to accompany these resources for in-class or lab use. The workshop will be held in a computer lab.

This workshop is by application only, with a limit of 30 participants.

Workshop Program »


The workshop will include 3 activities, as well as a pre-workshop assignment. All activities focus on Google Earth teaching resources on marine geology that were developed through the GEODE program.

The first activity is on marine sediments and is broken into multiple parts, scaffolding learning based on observation of real data. Participants will have time to work through an exercise designed for undergraduate students. This exercise will involve individual and group work. An instructor guide will be provided following the "student" work time.

The second activity introduces a more advanced resource on marine sediments. Participants will have time to explore this online resource and outline ideas on potential student assignments. In addition, participants will have the opportunity to examine a set of marine sediment samples and get advice on submitting their own request to IODP for sediment samples for education (or research) use.

The third activity introduces a comprehensive virtual tour of the ocean basins. Participants will tour a number of sites illustrating tectonic processes and ocean basin geometries. Participants will have the opportunity to outline their ideas on how this resource could be used to develop student assignments on topics such as the tectonic life cycle of an ocean basin.


The workshop is designed for faculty who teach oceanography or related courses, work at 2YCs and MSIs, and are new to GEODE.


By the end of this workshop, participants will be able to:

  • Explore marine sediments using Google Earth, including a "ready to go" student exercise.
  • Explore the ocean basins using Google Earth.
  • Outline ideas for how these resources could be used in their teaching.
  • Prepare sample requests to IODP for physical samples of marine sediment lithologies.
  • Network with other faculty who teach oceanography or related courses.


The workshop will be in a PC computer lab. There is no need to bring your own laptop.

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