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Landscape Observations

This material was originally created for On the Cutting Edge: Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Rebecca Ambers, Sweet Briar College
Course: Environmental Geology
20-30 students
The most effective way to develop geoscience skills in your students is to make opportunities for them to practice those skills. This exercise also whets the students' appetites, using the landscape around them.

The Activity

Because much of this course is about geomorphology, I take the class outside and have them look at the rural campus scenery from a good location. I ask them to think about whether the landscape seems geologically young or old, whether volcanoes have shaped the land, and whether glaciers have shaped the land. After we discuss their responses, I emphasize how the course will help them learn how to interpret the landscapes they see.