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Plate Tectonics & the Rock Cycle

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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.
Pamela Burnley, Georgia State University
Course: Introduction to Geosciences II
10 students
Surveying students to assess their prior knowledge serves two purposes: it helps students review information they have (theoretically) already learned, and it lets the instructor assess what their students remember from prior courses.

The Activity

I draw a cross secion of a subducting slab and spreading center and ask my students what is going on at various locations. As we fill in the diagram, I develop a diagram of the rock cyle superimposed on my cross section. My hope is that it reminds them of what they learned last semester (interior processes). It also gives me an opportunity to explain how this semester (surficial processes) will fit in with last semester and to tell them what it is we will cover this semester.

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