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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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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, ...

Looking into Earth with GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Seismic Wave Velocity
DATA: Seismic Wave Model Output. TOOLS: My World GIS, Microsoft Excel. SUMMARY: Examine seismic wave data in a Geographic Information System (GIS). Analyze wave velocities to infer the depth of the crust-mantle boundary.

Exploring Characteristics of Wetlands part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Analyzing Wetlands
DATA: Worldwide Wetlands Inventory. TOOL: Ramsar International Wetlands Data Gateway. SUMMARY: Learn about wetlands around the world. Perform a series of searches to identify wetland areas that need protection.

When is Dinner Served? Predicting the Spring Phytoplankton Bloom in the Gulf of Maine part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Predicting Phytoplankton Bloom in the Gulf of Maine
DATA: Ocean Buoy Data, MODIS Images TOOLS: GoMOOS Online Graphing Tool - Learn about conditions that influence the spring phytoplankton bloom. Use an online graphing tool to predict the date of the bloom.

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 ...

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) ...

Olivine Crystal Structure part of Cutting Edge: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: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 ...

Exploring and Animating GOES Images part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Exploring and Animating GOES Image
DATA: GOES Weather Images. TOOL: ImageJ. SUMMARY: Transform a time series of GOES images into an animation. Plot a storm track and determine storm speed.

Investigating Earthquakes with ArcExplorer GIS part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Investigating Earthquakes 2
DATA: Recent and Historical Earthquake Data. TOOL: ArcExplorer Java Edition for Education GIS. SUMMARY: Explore earthquake data and import them into a Geographic Information System (GIS). Analyze the data to predict where the next big earthquake will occur.

Chesapeake Interactive Modeling Project part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
CHIMP is an interactive numerical model of Chesapeake Bay circulation. Users can vary freshwater flux and wind speed/direction and observe the response in real time, with several visualization options.

Gulf Stream Heat Budget and Europe part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
Student groups are presented a problem scenario to research and make recommendations, predictions, and a resolution of the problem based on data and visualizations.

Understanding Carbon Storage in Forests part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:GLOBECarbon
DATA: Forest Inventory and Analysis data, TOOLS: isee Player, Spreadsheet application. SUMMARY: Compare field collected data with results produced by a forest biomass model to understand the process and challenges scientists face when doing terrestrial carbon cycle research.

Global Patterns part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
Based on my research on how best to enhance students' understanding of complex systems, I utilize various activities to support pattern recognition, a fundamental skill to understanding complex systems ...

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.

Seeing the Forest for the Trees: What's in Your Woods? part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Seeing the Forest for the Trees: Whats in Your Woods?
DATA: Forest Inventory Growth and Analysis data, TOOLS: Spreadsheet, My World GIS - Investigate forest biodiversity in Maine and consider the environmental factors that contribute to tree species diversity.

Litter Retriever with a GPS Receiver part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Litter Reliever with a GPS Receiver
DATA: GPS waypoints TOOL: GPS unit, Google Earth SUMMARY: Track litter in a park or public space with a GPS receiver. Then import the data into Google Earth and consider the ideal location for new trash receptacles.

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.

Protecting Wetlands from Exurban Development part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:WetlandDev
DATA: Land Use and Land Cover TOOL: My World GIS SUMMARY: Examine land-use changes around Macclenny, Florida. Propose locations for future development that minimize impacts on wetlands.

Investigating Renewable Energy Data from Photovoltaic (PV) Solar Panels part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Project REDI
DATA: Soltrex Online Data. TOOL: Microsoft Excel. SUMMARY: Examine solar energy generation; explore websites that monitor and report solar energy production from panels at many different locations; and consider how much of a school's or home's energy needs could be supplied by solar power.