On the Cutting Edge - Professional Development for Geoscience Faculty
Teaching with Data, Simulations and Models
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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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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.

HydroViz virtual hydrologic observatory part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching with Google Earth:Examples
HydroViz is an educational "virtual" hydrologic observatory developed for a "real" watershed and is based on integration of field data, remote sensing observations and computer simulations of hydrologic variables and processes. The main purpose of HydroViz is to support hydrology education in engineering and earth science courses.

Resources for using PhET simulations in class PhET Activities Database part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
The PhET Activities Database is a collection of resources for using PhET sims. It includes hundreds of lesson plans, homework assignments, labs, clicker questions, and more. Some activities have been created by the PhET team and some have been created by teachers.

Using PhET simulations to replace real equipment in lab Circuit Construction Kit part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
Labs and tutorials that use equipment such as circuits can be modified to use PhET simulations instead. Research shows that substituting the PhET Circuit Construction Kit simulation for real equipment in a variety ...

Writing your own activities - PhET Activity Guidelines part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
You can create your own lectures, homework, and labs around any PhET simulation by using the PhET Activity Guidelines . These guidelines will help you create "guided inquiry activities which encourage students to construct their own understanding," which are the most effective way to use PhET simulations.

Using PhET simulations in high school Open-ended Pendulum Labs part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
These labs provide examples of using very open-ended questions to guide students in exploring a simulation and designing their own experiments. These labs can lead to a high level of quantitative thinking about data analysis.

Using PhET simulations in a large lecture class The Photoelectric Effect part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:PhET Interactive Science Simulations:Examples
This activity provides a complete curriculum for teaching the photoelectric effect using the PhET Photoelectric Effect simulation in a large-lecture modern physics course. It includes links to powerpoint slides for two to three 50-minute lectures using Peer Instruction with clickers, and one homework assignment suitable for an online homework system. Research has demonstrated that students in classes using this curriculum have a better understanding of the photoelectric effect than students in classes using traditional instruction supplemented by a computerized tutor.

Conservation of energy of a rollercoaster using high speed video part of comPADRE Pedagogic Library:Teaching with Data:Examples
A high speed video clip of a roller coaster is used as an example of conservation of mechanical energy. Student use the video to determine whether mechanical energy is conserved while the roller coaster rolls up, and then back down a hil.