K-12 Outreach: Exercises

Several geoscience exercises for K-12 and undergraduate students have been prepared by our staff over the years. These will be posted here as they become available. Please feel free to contact the authors of these exercises directly if you have questions.

Available exercises

Removal of Copper from a Carbonate
This laboratory exercise demonstrates some important chemistry principles including oxidation and reduction, the activity series of metals (a ranking of their relative reactivity), and types of reactions.
A popcorn model for radioisotopic dating
This exercise uses popcorn to simulate how radioactive decay in minerals can be used to date rocks.
Sieving for clast size
by Marcia Barton, Santa Fe High School (2007) with the help of Dr. Nelia Dunbar and Dr. Dave Love, New Mexico Bureau of Geology and Mineral Resources.
Albuquerque volcanoes field excersise
by Sarah Wilson, Sandia Preparatory School, Albuquerque.
Sand magnification
by Susan Welch and Virgil W. Lueth, New Mexico Bureau of Geology.
Topo model of northern White Rock Canyon
by Susan Welch and Douglas Bland, New Mexico Bureau of Geology. Students will gain understanding of what a topographic map is, what it represents, and how it is used by constructing a cross-sectional elevation diagram from elevation data on a topographic map, and build a three dimensional landform model from a topographic map.
Volcanos, Earthquakes, and Plate Boundaries
In this lab, students use UNAVCO's EarthScope Voyager Jr. website in order to observe location data for volcanoes, and location and depth data for earthquakes. This exercise gives students a visual representation of how volcanoes and earthquakes are related to plate boundaries, and gets students working with real data. This exercise also introduces students to the concept of vectors in the form of GPS data showing plate motion.

Exercises from our 'Tremor' earthquake education website

Orgami Activities
This exercise uses basic geometric forms made of paper to help visualize solid forms in crystallography and mineralogy and to portray topics of earthquakes, plate tectonics, and geology of New Mexico.
Stick-Slip Movement: What Happens When the Earth Quakes?
This exercise is intended to help students observe how stick-slip movement along faults works. Instructions are provided about how to build a motorized model.
The BOSS Model: Building Oscillation Seismic Simulation
During an earthquake, buildings oscillate. If the frequency of this oscillation is close to the natural frequency of the building, resonance may cause severe damage, The BOSS model allows students to observe the phenomenon of resonance.
The Seismic Pioneers
The people who have shaped our idea of the Earth are pioneers, just as truly as those who struck out in new directions across its surface. This idea may be new to students.
Seismic Superheros
A role playing exercise that shows how ideas about the earth and earthquakes have changed through time, as recorded in various historical documents.

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