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This tombstone weathering lab is designed to provide students with tangible understanding of chemical weathering and weathering rates. To prepare for this lab, students will have learned in previous labs to identify common minerals and rocks and will have attended lectures about the process of chemical weathering. During the first part of the lab we travel to the city cemetery to collect data on the age and extent of chemical weathering of tombstones that are made of limestone and igneous rocks. After collecting data for ~1 hour, we return to the computer lab where students use Microsoft Excel to analyze and interpret their data. Their task is to calculate a chemical weathering rate for limestone for our region and compare that rate to those from other regions. This activity gives students experience in the process of scientific inquiry: data collection, data analysis and data interpretation. Students develop Microsoft Excel skills: writing formulas, producing charts, understanding trendlines and R2 values.
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