"Adopt an Outcrop"
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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 https://serc.carleton.edu/teachearth/activity_review.html.
This resource received an Accept or Accept with minor revisions rating from a Panel Peer Review process
These materials were reviewed using face-to-face NSF-style review panel of geoscience and geoscience education experts to review groups of resources addressing a single theme. Panelists wrote reviews that addressed the criteria:
- scientific accuracy and currency
- usability and
- pedagogical effectiveness
- Accept with minor revisions
- Accept with major revisions, or
Following the panel meetings, the conveners wrote summaries of the panel discussion for each resource; these were transmitted to the creator, along with anonymous versions of the reviews. Relatively few resources were accepted as is. In most cases, the majority of the resources were either designated as 1) Reject or 2) Accept with major revisions. Resources were most often rejected for their lack of completeness to be used in a classroom or they contained scientific inaccuracies.
This page first made public: Mar 25, 2004
This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project
- To increase students' confidence in their ability to describe and interpret outcrop geology
- To give students a sense of "ownership" about their work on one particular exposure.
- Practice with outcrop and hand specimen description
- Practice with measuring structural features in space
- Report writing
Context for Use
This field lab should follow field and indoor instruction on rock and mineral identification, hand specimen description, and outcrop description. It works well as a homework assignment for students to do on their own time outside of formal class and lab. It also works well as a formal field lab in a place with many exposures (enough for each student or small groups of students). In this case, the minimum time required is probably two to three hours.
Students should have or have access to this equipment:
- meter stick and/or tape measure
Students will need copies of instructions on describing hand specimens (Acrobat (PDF) 64kB Mar11 04) and outcrops. (Acrobat (PDF) 117kB Mar10 04) For easy reference in the field, these can be reduced in size on a copier and then pasted in the backs of the students' field notebooks.
Follow this link (Acrobat (PDF) 60kB Mar11 04) to a sample lab handout for an "adopt-an-outcrop" field exercise.
Teaching Notes and Tips
This is a fun lab for students because they acquire some "ownership" over their outcrop. On the other hand, with a large class, the assessment could become overwhelming. It is not necessary that you visit all of the sites chosen by students. You can assess the quality of observations, descriptions, sketches and interpretations on their own merits. Particularly with introductory geoscience students, it may be most important to assess the level of observation, description and analysis rather than whether each of their rock IDs and structural measurements is correct.
This lab also lends itself well to oral reports (with or without PowerPoint) and to poster presentations. Note that the information presented will likely differ depending on which presentation format is selected.
It is not necessary that you visit all of the sites chosen by students. You can assess the quality of observations, descriptions, sketches and interpretations on their own merits. Particularly with introductory geoscience students, it may be most important to assess the level of observation, description and analysis rather than whether each of their rock IDs and structural measurements is correct.
Another assessment option for this lab is to have students give short oral reports, either to the class (or a subset of it), to lab assistants, or to the instructor alone. Depending on the size of the class, this may not be possible.