Earth science - death valley summary

Itinerary Death Valley 2008
Location/Park Destinations
Content Themes/ Notes
1st Semester
Harbor City High International School
Planning, fundraising
Jan. 2, 2008
University of MN Duluth
Syllabus, issue field notebooks, packing planning
Fossils & Sed./Strat. Intro
Geologic Maps/Sketches & Interpretations Intro
- field notebook organization and expectations
Mineral and Rocks Intro
- microscope mineral inquiry
Thursday Jan. HCIS
3, 2008
Student project prep.
Friday Jan. 4, HCIS
Student project prep.
Jan. 5, 2008
Travel to Minneapolis
Sunday, Jan.
6, 2008
Fly to Las Vegas, grocery shop. Travel
to Death Valley, settle in
(Scheduled during the day, or while
hiking at night to keep warm)
-UMD Geology prof. and grad
Pickup pre-ordered SAM’s Club food/supplies
Wal-mart stop for smaller quantities, cooking fuel
Monday, Jan. Dante's View
Erosion and Weathering
7, 2008
Hike Golden Canyon to Zabriskie Point
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
*Map valley cross section profile and alluvial fans
Question of the Day-
Student- Daily Weather sayings and
Teacher- Daily Biology Moments
Student- Running Water
Student- Erosion and Weathering
Tuesday, Jan. Split Cinder Cone
8, 2008
Gneiss Outcrop
Virgin Spring Canyon hike to explore
Amargosa Chaos
Plate Tectonics
- Volcanoes
- Earthquakes
Geologic Time
Rock cycles and types
- highlight gneiss
Rheology Inquiry
Student- Geologic Time
Student- Plate Tectonics
Teacher- Rheology
Student- Star Types
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Sketch a lava bomb, label features
* Sketch/map the split volcano, label features
Question of the DayTell the geologic story of the split cinder cone. How did
it form? What role did water play?
Jan. 9, 2008
Salt Creek
Ubehebe Crater
Visitor’s Center and Gen. Store
-museum, take notes
-purchase souvenirs, postcards, stamps
(1st of two opportunities during the trip)
Emigrant Canyon to Skidoo
Jan. 10, 2008
Aguereberry Point
Weather & Climate
Glacial Lakes
Sequence of Geological Events: rules of superposition
Student- Wind
Student- Jet Stream
Student- Auroras
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Sketch mapview of craters/cinder cones
Question of the DayDo you think the Ubehebe cinder cones/craters formed
at the same or different times? Why? - cite evidence
from the field, sketches, observations, etc.
Mining, granite and gold
Quartzite, Slate, coyote den
Weather and Climate
Earth Rotation/tilt
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Map the valley cross section from Aguereberry
Question of the DayIf you were a gold prospector, what geological features
would you look for to lead you to gold?
Student- Mining
Student- Mountains and Weather
Friday, Jan.
11, 2008
“Dissect” alluvial fan
Corkscrew Peak view
Titus Canyon
-Volcano plug
-Klare Spring
-Walk last 1 mile
Rock types review in morning
(emphasize at outcrops and in alluvial fan)
Teacher- Rock Types Review
Student- US Fossil History
Student- Faulting
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Sketch mapview of craters/cinder cones
Question of the DayHow does geology influence plant and animal (including
human) life at Klare Spring? How does geology
influence life where you live?
Photography morning session with Bob Photography
Student- Basin and Range
Jan. 12, 2008
Salt and the Valley
Student- Galaxy types
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Sketch and photograph Natural Bridges and Artist’s
Natural Bridges
Question of the DayArtist's Palette-Photography
How can photography aid geological research? Why are
field sketches still important?
Visitor’s Center and Gen. Store
(2nd of two opportunities during the trip)
Sunday, Jan. Mosiac Canyon
13, 2008
Stovepipe Wells Dunes
Dune formation, angle of repose
Monday. Jan. Last day in park Destinations TBD
14, 2008
Field ID Test
Earth Cycles and Spheres (bio-, hydro-, geo-, etc.)
- Planetary Remote Sensing / Imaging
(park geologist +/- grad fellow)
Photography wrap-up
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Mosaic Canyon: sketch layers, piece types. Discuss
ENERGY, why there are rounded and angular pieces,
develop the geologic history of the canyon from your
* Dunes: Sketch dune forms. Sketch dry low areas with
mud cracks.
Question of the DayLonger solo journal time (1hr): Reflect on the trip thus
far. What have you learned about yourself?
Tell the geologic story of your favorite type of rock.
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Make a map (sketch with interpretations) from a
photograph. (in auditorium)
Question of the DayWhat do you think it would be like to be a field
What makes Earth different from the other planets?
What key whole-planet processes does Earth have that
the other planets don’t have?
Teacher- Dunes Inquiry
Student- Meteor showers
Teacher- Moon Phases
Teacher- Rock/Mineral ID review
Teacher/Park Service*Photography critique
*Remote Sensing imagery
Tuesday, Jan. Travel To Red Rock Canyon
15, 2008
Explore and camp
Teacher- lead discussion about earth
resources, stewardship, science
Field Notebooks- sketch interpretations
* Sketch/Map cross bedded sandstone
* Record observations, sketch view coming back to the
Las Vegas valley.
Question of the DayWhy does Geology matter?
-stewardship, conservation, life skills wrap-up
Wednesday, Return Flight to Minneapolis
Jan. 16, 2008
Jan. 17, 2008
Debriefing, Gear clean-up, Photograph file sharing
Friday Jan.
18, 2008
Final test
Feb. 2008
Leaders/Teachers debriefing and re-organization, lesson
plan discussions, etc.
March 2008
Discussion with Park Service about curriculum
Hoping to document, improve and/or develop curriculum in these areas:
- Fossils, Sedimentology & Stratigraphy with Matt Kuchta, UMD sed/strat lab
- Scientific Field Notebooks / Maps as Interpretations: Website examples / Expectiations, Set-up & Grading
- Intro to Minerals, Rocks, and Deformation with Sally Goodman, UMD petrology lab
- The Rheology of Food and Rocks, Sally Goodman UMD
- The Rock Cycle and Types, Sally Goodman UMD
- Daily Desert Biological Moments, Cindy Hale UMD
o Water limits life: photosynthesis, stomata, leaves/needle-size
o Shrubs: growth/shed periods
o Annuals vs. Perennials: germination timing, fast growth/cycle, seed coat enzyme
o Albedo and colors: leaf color, fur, reflection, water conservation, gas exchange
o Desert Adaptations: life in valleys and gullies, small yet old forms (desert cactus), salt tolerance, creosote spatial distribution,
allelopathy (toxins, radius), photosynthetic stems, C3 vs C4 photosynthesis
- Digital Photography and Geological Fieldwork, Matt Kuchta ppt seminar presentation
- Digital Photography with Ranger Bob
- Dune formation and Angle of Repose, Margie Menzies HCIS
- Astronomy Lessons, Margie Menzies HCIS
o Moon Phases
o Constellations, stars
o Astronomy stories
- Weather Prediction and Phenomena, Margie Menzies HCIS
- Remote Sensing and Geology Park Geologist and Grad Fellow/Margie
- Indigenous People of Death Valley: Traditional Ecological Knowledge
- Guide student projects with specific key points they must cover (according to state standards and teacher’s discretion)
- Create handout of key figures and main points to distribute to class in field
- Have students tape handouts into field notebooks immediately after presentations
- 12 students is ideal, 3 vans, 3-4 chaperone/teachers
- Daily Questions
o Pose DURING the day
- Field Sketch/Map of the Day
o Assign daily, allow @ 20-30 min. in field to complete sketch
o Require: scale, north direction, labeled features
o Develop student observational skills
o Resources:
 Marshak, 2nd Ed., Essentials of Geology, “What a Geologist Sees” sections, and on the web
 Claire Walker Leslie, Art of Field Journaling
- Daily Weather Report
o Wind speed and direction
o Daily high, low temperatures
o Barometric Pressure and changes
o Cloud Types
o Weather predictions
o Student Report: Daily weather saying and analysis
- Daily “Moon before Bed” sketch
- Field I.D. quiz on rocks and minerals
- Final exam
- Field notebooks graded
- Life skills assessed by notebook reflection questions and trip duties performance
- Identify accessible/best locations of (more) outcrops of schist, limestone, granite, and gneiss
- Ouline logistics and rules of using the group camp site: ex. Water resupply, area off-limits for archeological remains
- Determine if any rock samples can be taken home by students
- Determine if Park has a portable rock and mineral collection we could use
- Determine if Park could GET US TO THE RACETRACK PLAYA SOMEHOW?!!!!!!!!!!!! Maybe they could rent those souped up
vans for a day or two?! WHo knows!
- Would and an active mine be able to give students a tour?! (great way to see fresh outcrop and learn about economic importance of
- Would local tribes be willing to share their creation story of the valley? Other stories? Talk about living in the valley and using its