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

Investigating the Precipitation-Streamflow Relationship part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Investigating the Precipitation-Streamflow Relationship
DATA: Streamflow data, Precipitation data. TOOL: Spreadsheet application. SUMMARY: Produce a graph to compare data from the United States Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Measuring Distance and Area in Satellite Images
DATA: MODIS Imagery. TOOL: ImageJ. SUMMARY: Examine images of the Aral Sea from 1973 through 2003. Use image analysis software to measure changes in the width and area of the freshwater lake over time.

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.

Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 3: Exploring Arctic Climate Data part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Climate Change:Activities
Students dig into authentic Arctic climate data to unravel some causes and effects related to the seasonal melting of the snowpack. In particular, students learn about albedo and its relationship to snowmelt. This ...

Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 2: Do you really want to visit the Arctic? part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Climate Change:Activities
This jigsaw activity is designed for students to become familiar with several datasets of Arctic weather data, collected in Eureka on Ellesmere Island. Students join a role-playing activity to read and interpret ...

Global Patterns part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities: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 ...

Reasons for the Seasons part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
The inquiry method and meteorological and astronomical online data can be used to elicit the inconsistencies of students' naïve ideas about the "real" reasons for the seasons. The first phase of this two-part investigation uses online meteorological data to identify factors that might explain differences of seasonal temperatures among cities These factors are used to hypothesize why differences of seasonal temperatures occur among cities. During the second phase, the variables and hypotheses that were previously identified in part one are used to design and conduct an inquiry-oriented investigation. Astronomical data is used as part of the investigation to "test" students' hypotheses— conclusions are drawn then communicated.

Mapping Plate Boundaries part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Students can discover plate boundaries by plotting different sets of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions on maps. These are then stacked on the overhead projector, outlining the tectonic plates. -

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 SUMMARY: Learn about conditions that influence the spring phytoplankton bloom. Use an online graphing tool to predict the date of the bloom.

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 SUMMARY: Investigate forest biodiversity in Maine and consider the environmental factors that contribute to tree species diversity.

Arctic Climate Curriculum, Activity 1: Exploring the Arctic part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Climate Change:Activities
This activity introduces students to the Arctic, including different definitions of the Arctic and exploration of the Arctic environment and Arctic people. Students set out on a virtual exploration of the ...

Cyclostratigraphy and astrochronology exercise part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
Simple classroom activity to highlight how cyclostratigraphy and concepts of astronchronology can be used to refine age control in sedimentary rocks, estimate rates of processes, and for time control and ...

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.

Working with Scientific Data Sets in Matlab: Intra-annual variability of Sea Surface Temperature and Data Interpolation part of Teaching with MATLAB 2015:Teaching Activities
Sea surface temperature is a critical variable that determines biogeographic and distribution patterns of marine organisms. Changes in temperature influence species reproduction and survival and can affect the ...

Working with Scientific Data Sets in Matlab: An Exploration of Ocean Color and Sea Surface Temperature part of Teaching with MATLAB 2015:Teaching Activities
Remote sensing is a cost-effective way to gather data about environmental conditions and can be used to understand variability and trends. In this exercise will start to gather environmental data for the Tasman ...

Teaching Seismic Data Analysis with the GISMO toolbox for MATLAB part of Teaching with MATLAB 2015:Teaching Activities
GISMO is an object-oriented toolbox for seismic data analysis, and a set of tutorials are being built around this. Students learn how to read seismic waveform and event catalog data either from local files or ...

Tracking Groundwater Pollution part of Teaching with MATLAB 2015:Teaching Activities
This is a teaching module presenting an introduction to modeling ground water pollution, directed to undergraduate students in applied mathematics. It begins with a brief discussion of Darcy's law concerning ...

Ocean Predator/Prey Populations part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:AGU Modeling Workshop 2010:Activity Ideas
Susan Kelly Topic: Population change Course type: Introductory undergraduate course Description Modeling impact of change in food web Learning Goals or Outcomes Students will see how changes on one trophic level ...