Laboratory Manual for Introductory Geology
Bradley Deline, University of West Georgia
Randa Harris, University of West Georgia
Karen Tefend, University of West Georgia
Pub Date: 2015
ISBN 13: 978-1-9407713-6-6
Publisher: University of North Georgia Press
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Conditions of Use
This book was written to serve as a laboratory manual for an introductory-level physical geology course, focusing on Earth materials (rocks and read more
This book was written to serve as a laboratory manual for an introductory-level physical geology course, focusing on Earth materials (rocks and minerals) and basic Earth processes (volcanoes, earthquakes, mountain formation). The content is very traditional in its coverage and connects to many of the Earth Science Literacy Principles. There is heavy use of topographic maps (scanned into the manual), Google Earth, and student-purchased rock/mineral kits to complete the multiple-choice questions and worksheets. The human connection/dimension is not addressed in the chapters, nor the relevance of why learning this foundation material is important.
The authors pull content from reliable and reputable sources, such as NOAA, USGS, and NSIDC. I do not see errors in how the content is presented.
One of the relevance pieces I examined is the ability to use all of the materials in the PDF file. I noticed that in some areas, the ebook is customized to materials offered/available for purchase for their courses. One example is on page 144, the lab exercise for minerals. The text describes a required kit for students to purchase that is a customized kit pre-prepared. There is a risk for how long these kits can be purchased for the longevity for the identification exercises. The use of KML files and website URLs already need to be updated. I am also surprised to see that the authors do not send students to the websites of geological organizations that have a wealth of databases and supporting multimedia content to support the learning (Section 6.7 is the only place in the Climate section where there is a list of climate change sources outside of the manual).
The text for each laboratory exercise is packed with material and a short amount of space. I do caution that for students having their first introduction to geology, they may not have a full understanding of the content just from reading what is provided here. If this manual is used in conjunction with a lecture/online course that covers the content with more detail and at a slower pace, students should be able to understand and work through the exercises on their own.
The terms are used consistently but are briefly defined in the text. Although most laboratory manuals do not have a glossary, students may get frustrated not knowing the terminology from exercise to exercise, especially if an instructor decides to jump around or skip some of these laboratory sections.
The laboratory manual is divided into logical sections that connect to how a traditional introductory-level geology course/textbook would be structured (one chapter on minerals, one on igneous rocks, one on sedimentary rocks, etc.). There are headings in each section for the practice questions and the actual, graded questions. Some of the practice question sections are quite long with pages of multiple-choice questions for students.
The order of the topics for the laboratory exercises is appropriate for this manual and follows a traditional outline seen in many laboratory manuals.
The book is one PDF file. There are several topographic maps that have been scanned and included in the book that are not at the highest resolution, which could be difficult for students to read, certainly to print off. As USGS topo maps are online, it would be helpful to link to the online database and encourage students to learn how to search and download the maps for themselves. I'm sure the authors were trying to keep all the information self-contained, as URLs can change, such as the one on page 134 (https://sos.noaa.gov/kml/) which is a broken link.
The grammar looks fine in this text.
As this is a laboratory manual that focuses on Earth materials and resources, and does not address societal relevance or connections, there is no cultural relevance to evaluate. As the Earth Science Literacy Principles encourage the human connection to Earth materials and processes, I feel this is a missed opportunity to mention in the manual (not necessarily as a separate exercise, but as a final wrap-up perhaps at the end of each exercise). It would have been good to include geologic examples of features/processes that occur outside of the United States, having the examples more global in their scope.
Instructors that wish to utilize this book should note that although this manual is a cost-saving option to students, the students will still be required to purchase rock & mineral kits to complete the laboratory exercises, as well as have access to a computer where they can download and use Google Earth with pre-existing KML files (not all iPads/tablets allow students to use the full version of Google Earth). Instructors are strongly encouraged to go through and complete each exercise before having students complete each one, then perhaps develop some additional questions for students that are higher order on Bloom's Taxonomic Scale.
Table of Contents
- Chapter 1: Introduction to Physical Geology
- Chapter 2: Earth’s Interior
- Chapter 3: Topographic Maps
- Chapter 4: Plate Tectonics
- Chapter 5: Water
- Chapter 6: Climate Change
- Chapter 7: Matter and Minerals
- Chapter 8: Igneous Rocks
- Chapter 9: Volcanoes
- Chapter 10: Sedimentary Rocks
- Chapter 11: Metamorphic Rocks
- Chapter 12: Crustal DeformatIon
- Chapter 13: Earthquakes
- Chapter 14: PhysIographic Provinces
About the Book
This textbook is a comprehensive lab manual for the core curriculum Introductory Geosciences classes with both informational content and laboratory exercises. Topics include basic laws and theories in Geology, the Earth's interior and plate tectonics, water and climate change, igneous rocks and volcanoes, and earthquakes.
About the Contributors
Bradley Deline is a professor in paleontology at the University of West Georgia. I specialize in fossil echinoderms, with a particular focus on Ordovician crinoids.
Randa Harris is a geology professor at the University of West Georgia in Carrollton, GA.
Karen Tefend is a Professor in the Geology Department at the University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA.