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The goal of long-term laboratory projects is to allow students to apply newly learned concepts and methods to real-world problems and thereby add value to the laboratory learning experience. Effective projects are those that are carefully planned, have clearly defined learning objectives and reasonable workload and final product expectations. Exercises vary in length and content depending upon learning goals, class size, available resources, methodology and scheduling concerns (e.g. beginning or end of course, available class time or time of year). Each project begins with an introduction in which a geological question is posed and students are presented with background information, published reference material and guidelines for effective scientific writing. The introductory presentations are followed by group discussions to formulate the hypothesis(es) to be tested and determine the experimental design, with due consideration to the constraints listed above. It is important that students understand their individual responsibilities and their role in the larger group effort. In the following weeks, students are provided with the materials and methods they need to conduct each phase of the project. Students collect and process their own data whenever possible. Preferably this phase involves field description and collection of samples for later lab analysis but previously collected sediment or rock cores or samples may also be used. Data analysis is a class-wide effort with each student or student team contributing a component to a larger class-wide database. Workload expectations must be clearly defined and students must conform to a tight timeframe during the analysis portion of the exercise so that the final database is complete and available on schedule. Interim deadlines for data components generally help students stay on schedule during this phase. Data synthesis and final report preparation are individual efforts. Students are encouraged to be creative in the interpretation and presentation of their results but are warned not to draw conclusions that cannot be supported by their data. Examples of long-term projects that have been used for sedimentology at SUNY Plattsburgh include: Particle shape analysis of beach and fluvial gravel in the Champlain Valley Provenance of glacial till in the Champlain Valley and northeastern Adirondack Mountain region Sedimentology, stratigraphy and landslide susceptibility of proglacial lake and marine deposits on the Lake Champlain lakeshore in Plattsburgh, NY Sedimentology and stratigraphy of the Potsdam Sandstone in the Champlain Valley Sedimentological evidence for breakout floods in proglacial lake and marine deposits in the Champlain Valley
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