The Open University since 2006
Alternatively you can skip the navigation by pressing 'Enter'.
Thinking Allowed 2016: A special programme on Pierre BourdieuMonday, 27th June 2016 00:15 - BBC Radio 4This special episode of Thinking Allowed explores the ideas of French socialist Pierre Bourdieu. Read more: Thinking Allowed 2016: A special programme on Pierre Bourdieu
Genius of the Modern World: NietzscheAvailable for over a yearBettany Hughes takes us on an exploration of Friedrich Nietzsche's life and works. Read more: Genius of the Modern World: Nietzsche
The Big C & Me: Episode 2Available until Sunday, 24th July 2016 02:05
The Big C & Me: Episode 3Available until Friday, 22nd July 2016 23:55
Thinking Allowed 2016: A special programme on Pierre BourdieuAvailable for over a year
The UK votes out; the EU shrinks; the world reactsReaction from academics around the planet as UK voters elect to leave the E Read more: The UK votes out; the EU shrinks; the world reacts
Genius of the Modern WorldIn this three-part OU/BBC co-production for BBC Four, Bettany Hughes explores the life and works... Watch now: Genius of the Modern World
Grammar mattersGrammar matters because, combined with vocabulary choice, it is our main way of making meaning.... Try: Grammar matters now
English: skills for learningEnglish: skills for learning, is a free course for anybody who is thinking of studying for a... Try: English: skills for learning now
Have you ever wondered how scientists analyse the environment? This free course, Practising science: Reading the rocks and ecology, introduces you to the techniques used by science students at residential schools. You will learn how to determine where rocks have come from and how they were made. You will also examine the processes involved in determining the ecology of a particular area.
After studying this course, you should be able to:
- explain the difference between a mineral and a rock
- describe the textural differences between igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks
- account for these differences in terms of the processes that produce these rocks
- classify igneous rocks according to their grain size and mineralogical composition
- recognise the difference between a body fossil and a trace fossil.
- Learning outcomes
- 1 Earth Sciences: reading the rocks
- Current section: 1.1 About this course
- 1.2 The Earth's crust
- 1.3 Minerals and rocks
- 1.4 The formation of igneous rocks
- 1.5 The formation of sedimentary rocks
- 1.6 The formation of metamorphic rocks
- 1.7 Interlude
- 1.8 Geological fieldwork
- 1.9 The rock cycle
- 1.10 Changing sea-level
- 1.11 Summary
- Current section:
- 2 What is ecology?
- Keep on learning
Study this free course
Enrol to access the full course, get recognition for the skills you learn, track your progress and on completion gain a statement of participation to demonstrate your learning to others. Make your learning visible!
1 Earth Sciences: reading the rocks
1.1 About this course
Science is all about knowledge, what we know about the material world and the Universe in which our world is just a microscopic speck. The aim of scientists is to extend the frontiers of this knowledge so that we can understand more about the physical Universe and the life within it.
Scientists acquire knowledge by engaging in four fundamentally important and connected tasks. The first is observation: they observe the natural world and the space beyond it, and both describe and record what they see. Second, they construct hypotheses to explain what they see. Third, they carry out experiments where possible to test their hypotheses. Finally they communicate their findings – to other scientists who will build on this work to extend knowledge still further, to technologists who will devise practical applications for scientific knowledge, and to the general public to raise awareness of scientific discovery. The way in which science is communicated to interested parties is especially important because scientific knowledge is useless if no one else can understand it.
This course introduces some of the background needed for students taking part in the earth science and ecology activities which often take place at science residential schools. At such schools, students normally undertake laboratory and field based activities in earth science, biology, physics and chemistry.
In August 2006 Radio 4 Material World broadcast three programmes from Open University Residential Schools, including SXR103 Practising Science. To listen to the programme go to http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/science/thematerialworld_20060810.shtml.
This free course includes adapted extracts from an Open University course which is no longer available to new students. If you found this interesting you could explore more free Geology courses or view the range of currently available OU Geology courses.
Copyright & revisions
Originally published: Thursday, 24th March 2016
Last updated on: Thursday, 24th March 2016
- Creative-Commons: The Open University is proud to release this free course under a Creative Commons licence. However, any third-party materials featured within it are used with permission and are not ours to give away. These materials are not subject to the Creative Commons licence. See terms and conditions. Full details can be found in the Acknowledgements and our FAQs section.
- This site has Copy Reuse Tracking enabled - see our FAQs for more information.
If you enjoyed this, why not follow a feed to find out when we have new things like it? Choose an RSS feed from the list below. (Don't know what to do with RSS feeds?)
Remember, you can also make your own, personal feed by combining tags from around OpenLearn.
- Latest OpenLearn pages
- Latest pages from OpenLearn - Geology
- Latest pages tagged - ecology
- Latest pages tagged - Star Trek
- Latest pages tagged - fieldwork
- Latest pages tagged - data
- Latest pages tagged - Joseph Butler
- Latest pages tagged - Stoics
- Latest pages tagged - sea level
- Latest pages tagged - pollution
- Latest pages tagged - calculations
- Latest pages tagged - SXR103_1
- Latest comments on this page
All our alternative formats are free for you to download, for more information about the different formats we offer please see our FAQs. The most frequently used are Word (for accessibility), PDF (for print) and ePub and Kindle to download to eReaders*.
- Word (3.1 MB)
- PDF (4.8 MB)
- ePub 3.0 (2.2 MB)
- ePub 2.0 (2.2 MB)
- Kindle (1.3 MB)
- RSS (329 KB)
- HTML (1.9 MB)
- SCORM (1.8 MB)
- OUXML Package (41 KB)
- OUXML File (129 KB)
- IMS Common cartridge
*Please note you will need an ePub and Mobi reader for these formats.