Surface Feature Identification

Katherine Ocker Stone, Walters State Community College
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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

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see

This page first made public: May 10, 2017


Students are provided the latitude and longitude of various locations and asked to identify the river stage or surface water deposition/erosional feature.

Learning Goals

Content/concepts goals
Objectives for the lab:
-To gain further understanding of stream stages
-To identify stream stages
-To identify surface water features

Higher order thinking skills goals
Interpretation of satellite images

Other skills goals

Context for Use

Type and level of course
Introductory Geology course for non-majors and fundamental for majors.

Skills and concepts students should have mastered
Instructions are provided to utilize Google Earth, but the student is expected to have gone through the accompanying lesson on surface water. The lab accompanies the lesson and provides real examples for the students to observe and identify the river stages and features of running water.

How the activity is situated in the course
This activity is used as a Lab or an activity after learning about surface water.

Description and Teaching Materials

This activity was created with SoftChalk. The activity and assessment can be accessed via link:

Teaching Notes and Tips


The activity/lab is created using SoftChalk therefore the students ID the features and are assessed immediately. A certificate of their performance is provided at the end of the activity.

References and Resources