Earth Science Outside -y2018-2019 – Via SLDistrict

Homework 4 – Due In-Class, April 2 /4 class session, 2019

Teachers as Earth Scientists:  JOY of patterns outside.

NOTE: there’s a BIG PART to this assignment-

Warm Spring Park / Loop exercise…  has a hand-in  (1 – 3 hour commitment depending on travel, etc.)

AND a SMALLER PART that will prepare for your final project —

Pull together a few – not all – of your images from this workshop … listed at end of this assignment. Images are essential for the final project due April 22. We will begin that project in class April 2 / 4 so bring a couple of your images to practice on. (Hopefully this will take 15 minutes maximum.).


Big part…


Gain confidence! If you can see patterns, you can teach Earth science. See patterns in bedrock at Warm Spring Park, on your own. Then realize you know enough more than your students that you can go outside and teach the JOY of Earth Science Outside.

Please do this on your own AND with a buddy. Meaning… do not do this as a cohort because someone may inadvertently steal your education! However, Warm Springs Park walkabout is an interesting neighborhood and, although safe, homeless camps have existed across Victory Road. I think you’ll feel more confident if you have a buddy… but fight for your education! Don’t let whomever you are with “give you the answers.”


Embrace uncertainty. Please see this as an Earth scientist would… an adventure with clues about cause and effect. Look for evidence versus “the answers.” Think “why” questions. For example: why is the valley so flat? Celebrate your curiosity. Don’t expect to “see it all.” Just see enough to realize you’re good enough at seeing patterns of landforms (topography) and good enough at seeing patterns in bedrock. That’s good enough to turn kids on to Earth science.


PRINT OUT the HAND-IN if you did not receive it in class January 22 / 24. ESE-SLDistrict-HW04-WarmSprings

REVIEW the web-site material about Warm Springs Loop (location, advice, Earth science core ideas.

ACTIVITY (an hour maximum as fill out the hand-in).

PODCAST! Walk and listen as you walk — stream it via your device. CLICK HERE

Walk the Warm Springs sidewalk loop. Begin in the parking lot. Go east to the gray boulders of the retaining wall of the parking lot (fossils in the boulders!); then go north and pass the restrooms (admire the rocks in the pillars!); then walk the sidewalk route always bearing right and upwards to almost Victory Road (look into the quarry, what bedrock contrasts!); TAKE PICTURES!! Continue along the sidewalk, downward to pools of the warm springs (really nifty primitive ecosystems); and return to the parking area (be careful of slimy SLIPPERY sidewalk).

Step 1. Plan for an hour at the park even though the path is less than a mile around the park.

Step 2. Park in the parking area west of the old Wasatch Plunge. Look around. Breathe!

Step 3. Practice mindful curiosity. Remind yourself of patterns that matter: patterns of topography and patterns of Earth materials. Be deliberate in your recognition of patterns.

For example, remember the wooden blocks, the model of extensional tectonics. The warm springs come to the surface here because of the Warm Springs Fault, a section of the Wasatch Fault Zone. How could the blocks represent the topography here? Look northeast to the really steep slope behind the parking lot. It is mapped as the Warm Springs fault of the Wasatch Fault Zone.

Practice seeing patterns of Earth materials. Recognize sediments (loose materials all of which came from bedrock) versus bedrock (firm, coherent, continuously attached to Earth’s crust).  Go to the gray boulders that form the retaining wall of the slope. Where did the boulders come from? You may find fossils.

Step 4. Resist jumping to conclusions. In the parking lot, take a few images related to Earth science. Write notes to remind yourself where and why you took  your images. Continue to have an open mind. Embrace uncertainty. Your notes might read: Image 1: Taken from Warm Springs Park parking lot looking northeast. I am curious about the big black and gray bounders that form the wall. I wonder how they got here and where they came from.

Step 5. Walk to the grass of the park, north of the parking areas, and by the restrooms (non-operational). Follow the sidewalk counterclockwise, meaning, walk past the rest rooms. Where did the rocks of the pillars come from. Could they have rolled down from the slopes above? Walk along the higher branch of the sidewalk. Continue noticing patterns of topography and Earth materials. Practice curiosity.

Step 5 continued. As you walk toward the crest of the sidewalk path, stop where you see into the mining operations (shown in the images above). Take your own images of those relationships.  What patterns do you see? Besides wondering what  “you’re meant to see” what are you curious about? For example, are you curious how this all came to be? Do you see contrasts in the bedrock? Do you see contrasts in topography? If your students expressed interest could you be ready to tie their observations to tectonics, Earth materials, role of water in surface processes, or geologic history of Salt Lake County? Don’t lose confidence. You don’t need all the “answers” just the ability to channel curiosity.

Clues: patterns of topography include high versus low (steep topography of the hill, versus flat of the valley). Bedrock contrasts include tan bedrock at the top of the hills and gray bedrock in the mined area. Take a couple images and exercise curiosity. What is there to figure out here? How about relative age?

Step 6. Continue walking the path. Pass the pools of warm springs. They are warm, not hot, and safe to touch. Admire the colors and the life forms. You don’t need to embrace the smells! but please wonder about them. Take an image or two.

Step 7. Return to your vehicle. Look again at the north area of the parking lot with the wall of black/gray boulders. Now, can you imagine where they came from?  Have you wondered why it is so steep that there’s a wall? Of course there could be more than one reason. Embrace uncertainty.

Step 8. Print out at least two of your images that you think show patterns of topography or patterns of Earth materials. Bring them to class on April 2  / 4 and the attached hand-in. (Not attached as of January 21).

BRING those two hard copy images, or more, to Session 5 (April 2 / 4). 

Recognize you’ve been a teacher-Earth scientist today. Congratulations. I hope you haven’t “figured it all out” because embracing uncertainty and entertaining multiple hypotheses are part of being a scientist.

EXPECT considerable discussion as part of Session 5. 

“Little Part”

Prep for Final Project

Due April 22??

Prepare for final project —

The final project is due via email or hard copy by April 22, 2019. It’s goal: demonstrate skills associated with science, and specifically to Earth science.

  • specifically recognize patterns of Earth materials (bedrock versus sediment)
  • patterns of landforms (geologic features on Earth’s surface such as basins and ranges, active drainages
  • patterns associated with history … see patterns associated with “younger / older” relationships.

The final project asks you to put your images into the timeline of the geologic history of Salt Lake County.

Here are the images you need to complete the final project – and we’ll begin the final project in class on April 2 /4.

You don’t need all these photos on April 2 / 4 but have a few so you can get started.

Your photos of:
  • The valley floor – such as images from Salt Lake School District Headquarters… or from your school (Homework 1).
  • Wasatch fault zone – from GK Gilbert Park (from Homework 2)
  • Warm Springs Park – Wasatch Plunge (from Homework 4) the brown bedrock and the gray bedrock.
  • View of the Bonneville level of Lake Bonneville – such as from Huntsman Hospital windows.
  • Parley’s Canyon, the red tilted rocks (don’t do this while you’re driving! )
  • Mount Olympus (from almost anywhere!)
  • And one image, your choice, looking east at the Wasatch Front of a landform or set of landforms you like.