About Teacher’s Corner

Teacher’s Corner is a place to consider Earth Science topics of particular interest to teachers, like how to develop lab activities, or what’s going on in a student’s head when they ask a question, or how the new Next Generation Science Standards can be implemented in the classroom.

Your friendly Chief Blogger is Mary Colson.  Mary has taught 8th grade Earth Science for over twenty years in Tennessee, Texas, and Minnesota.  She develops almost all of her own activities and curricula, and is always eager to hear other people’s ideas!

Guest Blogger is Russ Colson (Dr. C).  Russ teaches college geology and planetary science.  He established the Earth Science Teaching major at Minnesota State University Moorhead

Russ and Mary are coauthors of the NSTA Press book Learning to Read the Earth and Sky

This blog is hosted on http//earthscienceissues.net, a resource for writers and teachers interested in discussing Earth Science issues.

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Geoscience Challenge, Feb 2013–By Dr. C

Woman sitting on rock columns

Here is Dr. C’s second Geoscience Challenge, moved from his facebook page.  Geoscience Challenge Feb 2013–This month’s challenge is to figure out why the rock in the picture has such a geometrical form and where this picture was taken. (Hint: Volcano’s can be in most amazing places, can’t they!) Answers in a month!— with Mary Colson.

Mary Colson I look a lot younger then, well at least a lot younger than the rocks! :0). February 17, 2013 at 7:12pm
  • Laurie Sand Is that columnar basalt at the north shore of lake superior that I see??? February 17, 2013 at 7:52pm
  • Jessie Rock Oh what fun. I love this idea Russ. Is it columnar basalt in the pacific northwest? The vegetation looks lush. These columns form from the contraction of thick lava as it cools. Here’s a question: Why are the columns always vertical? February 21, 2013 at 10:37am
  • Christine Kimmelman Columnar basalt are amazing, formed that way from cooling lava, the certain minerals in the lava maybe take that shape when cooled slowly. I don’t think columnar basalt are always vertical but these ones are, could be from the lava flow placement? I think it’s Washington state like Jessie Rock said about the lush vegetation. This is fun. Can’t wait to find out.  February 21, 2013 at 11:23am
  • Jane Dahl Feickert Apparently I don’t have a geological clue….:)February 21, 2013 at 4:19pm
  • Russ Colson Jane: 3 people like the Pacific NW, you being one! Answers in a week or so.  February 21, 2013 at 4:42pm
  • Ann Dulhanty being from Canadian shield country, every fractured rock I see looks like glacial influence, but that doesn’t seem to be the trend in the conversation, presumably by people who know better than me  February 21, 2013 at 8:01pm ·
  • Jessie Rock Look at those trees. I think Laurie Sand is right. Could that be the” North Shore”? Are these rocks associated with the the failed rift?  February 21, 2013 at 11:32pm
  • Russ Colson Well. Sorry for taking so long to get back to this! End of February to middle of May is my “hang on by the fingernails” time of the year. And the Answer IS…..Sure enough it’s ancient volcanic basalt from the North Shore of Lake Superior! Gooseberry Falls SP to be exact. An amazing place for volcanos isn’t it? Volcanos all gone, lava still here. The basalt columns form when lava cools and shrinks, causing the rock to fracture in roughly hexagonal columns. Jessie, do you want to comment on your questions–Why are they vertical?  April 6, 2013 at 5:14pm
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Geoscience Challenge, October 2013–by Dr. C

A river of ice, mountains on either side

Moved from Dr. C’s facebook page: 

Oct 2012 Geoscience Challenge:
Where was this pcture taken?
What caused the squiggly tire tracks down the middle?

Stanley R. Michalski Maybe Alaska or Norway ? The lines are caused by: 1) a really big dump truck, 2) millions of migrating lemmings or 3) the rock debris of a medial morain resuting from the top & center of the glacier moving faster than the bottom & sides.  October 22, 2012 at 8:57am·
Russ Colson I vote for the lemmings! Driving a dump truck!  November 2, 2012 at 8:24pm ·
  • Russ Colson Well, only one entry in my October Geoscience Challenge–so the winner is—Stan Michalski! The glacier is the longest in Europe, taken from the Sphinx station, the Top of Europe. Mary and I visited there for our 25th Anniversary in 2010, where we truly were at the top of the world just like I’ve been ever since we got married! The dark “tracks” are indeed lateral moraines dragged into the interior of the ice flow to become medial morraines, debris scraped from the surrounding mountains and entrained in the ice! November 21, 2012 at 11:47am 
  • Mary Colson It’s hard to believe that we were on the JungFrau two and a half years ago! Time just keeps on keepin’ on. We are still at the top of the world :0)  November 21, 2012 at 12:28pm
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