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Classroom Activities

These classroom and lab activities use data, simulations or modeling to teach geoscience topics. Examples include the use of model output, chemical analyses, remote sensing data, interactive data tools, or large databases.

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Using GLOBE Data to Study the Earth System part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Using GLOBE Data to Study Earths System
DATA: Student-collected environmental data TOOL: GLOBE Online Graphing Tool SUMMARY: explore, graph, and compare data from the GLOBE (Global Learning and Observations to Benefit the Environment) Program.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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How Cities Affect Their Local Climate part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Are Our Cities Warming the Earth?
DATA: GLOBE Program Surface Temperature. TOOL: My World GIS. SUMMARY: Explore the urban heat island effect using student collected surface temperature data. Subset large datasets, buffer others, examine spatial relationships, and gather statistics to investigate temperature differences in urban and rural school sites.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Exploring NCAR Climate Change Data Using GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:NCAR Climate Change Data with GIS
DATA: NCAR Climate Change Scenarios. TOOL: ArcGIS. SUMMARY: Calculate summer average temperatures during the growing season (June, July, and August) using simulated, present-day, climate-modeled output and compare these to temperatures calculated using projected, future, climate-modeled output. Create a temperature anomaly map to summarize the analysis.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Visualizing Carbon Pathways part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Carbon
DATA: NASA Satellite Images TOOLS: ImageJ and Image Composite Explorer (ICE) of NASA Earth Observations (NEO). SUMMARY: Build animations of satellite data to illustrate and explore carbon pathways through the Earth system.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Earthquake Case Study part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Introductory Courses:Activities
This activity is a multiple case study analysis of different earthquakes that leads to student interpretation of claims, evidence and prediction/recommendations.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Landscape Models part of Cutting Edge:Geomorphology:Activities
An introduction to using WILSIM, an on-line lanscape evolution model.

Exploring Seafloor Topography part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Sea Floor
DATA: Digital Elevation Model Data. TOOL: GeoMapApp. SUMMARY: Explore a timeline about how we have learned about the oceans. Construct a profile across the Atlantic Ocean and create 3-D visualizations of the seafloor.

Annotating Change in Satellite Images part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Annotating Change in Satellite Images
DATA: Landsat Images. TOOL: ImageJ. SUMMARY: Examine time-series images that show landuse changes in China. Produce a map documenting how human activities have changed the coastline.

Crystallization-Differentiation of the Kilauea Iki Lava Lake part of Integrating Research and Education:EarthChem:Kilauea Iki Lava Lake
Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Oct. 26, 2004. Description In this exercise, students use major-element compositions of whole-rocks, volcanic glasses, ...

Crystal Structures as Geobarometers part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Cpx Geobarometer
Kent Ratajeski, kratajeski@montana.edu Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 4, 2005 Description This exercise is based on the recent formulation of a geobarometer ...

Order/Disorder Within Crystal Structures as a Function of Temperature part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Olivine Structure at High Temperatures
Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description The olivine unit cell. Crystallographic sites house Si (black), O (red), and the M1 (brown) ...

Forecasting Lake Effect Snow in Lake Superior region part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
This exercise is designed to present the realistic problems of forecasting weather. Lake effect snows are hard to forecast because they depend on information that isn't part of the regular set of information ...

Exploring phyllosilicate structures with polyhedral models part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Mineralogy:Activities
In this exercise, students build polyhedral models to learn about phyllosilicate structures and how they relate to physical properties. This directed-discovery activity is a very 'hands-on' experience ...

Reading Time Series Plots part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
This activity provides a brief introduction to GPS and provides a student activity to practice creating and reading time series plots with simplified GPS data and with authentic GPS data from Iceland.

Visualizing Sun Position of the Seasons part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
The goal of the exercise is to help students visualize and better understand how the sun changes apparent position over the course of the seasons.

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Mineralogy:Activities
In this exercise, crystal structure data for a variety of unknown minerals are downloaded and entered into XtalDraw or CrystalMaker visualization software program. Step-by-step tutorials are provided with ...

Olivine Crystal Structure part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Mineralogy:Activities
In this exercise, students use the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database and a crystallographic visualization program such as Xtaldraw or CrystalMaker to study the temperature-dependent ordering of Mg ...

Crystal Structures as Geobarometers part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Mineralogy:Activities
In this exercise, designed for undergraduate igneous petrology or advanced mineralogy courses, students download a series of crystal structures from the American Mineralogist Crystal Structure Database to explore ...

Identifying Minerals with Chemical and Crystallographic Data part of Integrating Research and Education:Crystallography:Identifying Minerals Using Chemical and Crystallographic Data
Kent Ratajeski Department of Earth Sciences, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT Published Jan. 25, 2005 Description In this exercise, crystal structure data for a variety of unknown minerals are downloaded and ...

Teaching geologic time and rates of landscape evolution with dice part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
Landscape evolution provides a convenient framework for understanding geologic time and rates because students can observe how processes like erosion and deposition shape their surroundings. In this example, students build 3-D sandbox models based on topographic maps and design and stage a "virtual adventure race." Sandbox landscapes are used to illustrate erosional processes,while local examples are used to discuss landscapes as transient or steady over different time- and length scales. Dice experiments illustrate radioactive decay and the shape of the age equation curve, and 14C dating, geochronology and thermochronology are introduced as "stopwatches" that start when a plant dies, a crystal forms, or a rock nears the surface and cools to a certain temperature. The sandbox model and thermochronometer "stopwatches" are combined to measure erosion rates and rates of landscape change. Ultimately, model rates (cm/hour) calculated from stopwatch times on the order of seconds can be related to geologic rates (km/My) calculated from real million-year-old samples.