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Activity descriptions for teaching geoscientific thinking

These activity descriptions were submitted by faculty in preparation for the Teaching the Methods of Geoscience workshop in June 2012. In some cases, participants submitted a supplement calling out the ways in which the activities explicitly addressed teaching geoscientific thinking for a course they had previously submitted.

If you would like to add to this collection by contributing an activity, please fill out the Activity Submission Form or the Activity Supplement Form if you wish to supplement an activity you have previously submitted.


Results 21 - 30 of 33 matches

Density, Isostasy, and Topography
Anne Egger, Central Washington University
Anne Egger, Central Washington University.This page is a supplement to the original activity description found hereShort description of the activity: In this activity, students develop an explanation for the ...

Transport of heavy metals in the Clark Fork River
Kathleen Harper, University of Montana-Missoula, The
This is an activity about transport of sediment contaminated by copper, arsenic, and other heavy metals that was deposited into the Clark Fork River channel as the result of historical mining activity. The Clark Fork River between Butte and Milltown, Montana has been the focus of several large superfund projects designed to address the impacts of this legacy of mining in the watershed. This activity is used in an introductory physical geology lab (primarily non-majors) with students who may have limited experience working with quantitative analysis and analyzing graphs.

Measuring the Campus Green
Paul Vincent, Valdosta State University
Students use basic tools to measure the size of one-quarter acre.

Discovering the Principles of Relative Age Determination – a Think-Pair-Share In-Class Activity
James Ebert, SUNY College at Oneonta
In this in-class activity, students are challenged to identify rock units and geologic features and determine the relative ages of these features without prior instruction in the classical methods of relative age determination.

Learning how to constuct a graph of a decaying isotope and using it in radiometric dating
Ntungwa Maasha, College of Coastal Georgia
Students learn how to construct and use the natural decay curve for use it in a laboratory exercise on the use of radioactivity in absolute dating.

Accuracy, Precision, and Topographic Data
Scott Linneman, Western Washington University
This jigsaw style exercise challenges new geomorphology students to collect topographic data and analyze its accuracy and precision.

Reasons for the Seasons
Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University
The inquiry method and meteorological and astronomical online data can be used to elicit the inconsistencies of students' naïve ideas about the "real" reasons for the seasons. The first phase of this two-part investigation uses online meteorological data to identify factors that might explain differences of seasonal temperatures among cities These factors are used to hypothesize why differences of seasonal temperatures occur among cities. During the second phase, the variables and hypotheses that were previously identified in part one are used to design and conduct an inquiry-oriented investigation. Astronomical data is used as part of the investigation to "test" students' hypotheses— conclusions are drawn then communicated.

Interpreting the Geologic History of Canyon de Chelly
Holly Godsey, University of Utah
The is a two part lesson designed to given in-service teacher an experience in field geology. The lesson is designed by Canyon de Chelly, AZ but can be used anywhere there are outcrops of two or more rock types.

Calculating the radius of the Earth
Basil Tikoff, UW Madison
Science students often have difficulty thinking about large spatial scales. The purpose of the exercise is to redo Eratosthenes' calculation of the radius of the Earth using data from to sites in ancient Egypt. The excercise teaches about the methodology of science - how Eratothenes figured it out - rather than worried about what the "right" answer is. It can also be used to discuss the role of models in geological thinking.

Evaluating the lines of evidence for plate tectonics
Becca Walker, Mt. San Antonio College
In this in-class exercise, students compare several lines of evidence that support the ideas of continental drift and plate tectonics. Before the class meeting, each student is given a preparation assignment in which he/she studies one "continental drift" and one "ocean floor data" map. In class, students divide into teams of 3, with each team member having prepared different specialties. They discuss their respective maps and look for spatial patterns among the data.

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