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Complex Systems Teaching Activities


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Mining - Least Cost lab part of Teaching Activities
This is an exercise that simulates the basic cost of mining, transportation and manufacturing activities under the concept of Weber's least-cost theory.

The Fishing Game part of Teaching Activities
The Fishing Game pits students against two virtual fishing companies. The goal is to maximize the company's bank account at the end of 10 years' fishing. This almost always results in a crash of the ...

Modeling U-Series Concordia/Discordia Using STELLA part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
U-Series dating techniques are widely used to determine the absolute ages of some of Earth's oldest rocks, but the concordia/discordia diagram can be quite difficult for students to grasp. I have produced a STELLA-based lab exercise to develop students' understanding of this important chronologic technique. Students create models of the two isotopic decay systems and run these models to create the concordia diagram. They then carry out experiments in which they "add" or "remove" varying amounts of lead or uranium in simulation of metamorphism. In the course of the lab, students are introduced to the concepts of exponential decay and secular equilibrium as well as modeling concepts such as the creation of if-then statements.

Daisyworld Lab part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students explore a STELLA model of Daisyworld, a self-regulating system incorporating positive and negative feedbacks.

Temperature Profiles in Permafrost part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use STELLA to create a model of heatflow in permafrost to attempt to replicate the findings of Lachenbruch and Marshall (1986), who used inflections in the geothermal gradient of Alaskan permafrost to search for evidence of climatic change.

Modeling Earth's Temperature part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students use the STELLA program to create hierarchies of models of increasing complexity to understand the absorption of solar energy by the Earth and its radiation of that energy back to space.

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