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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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Case Study 2.1 - Climate Variability in the Equatorial Pacific part of Climate of Change
This activity engages students in examining tropical Pacific pressure, sea-surface temperature, and precipitation data over a 10 year time span. Students work in groups to understand a data set, then debrief as a ...

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Case Study 4.1- Reflecting on What is Happening to Greenland's Ice part of Climate of Change
In this activity, students consider Greenland reflectivity changes from 2000 to 2012. Some students receive yearly albedo data for low elevations, while other students receive high-elevation data. After each ...

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Case Study 2.2 - Climate Variability in the North Atlantic part of Climate of Change
This activity walks students through a data set depicting climate variability in the North Atlantic, associated with the North Atlantic Oscillation (NOA). Students examine anomalies of precipitation and pressure ...

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Case Study 5.2 - Interpretations: Reading the Book of Earth part of Climate of Change
I designed this activity to provide students with a comprehensive experience working with real climate data. Students graph, analyze, and critically interpret ice core data from Greenland. You can implement this ...

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Unit 2: Perception of hazards, vulnerability and risk part of Map your Hazards!
Students will collect and analyze relevant social data on individual and community knowledge, risk perception and preparedness within their local social networks.

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Unit 4: Hazards from Flooding part of Interactions between Water, Earth’s Surface, and Human Activity
In this unit, students examine detailed hydrologic data from one river to identify ways in which precipitation and stream discharge influence flooding which often impacts nearby human societies. They also research ...

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Unit 6 Hazards and Risk at Convergent Plate Boundaries (Day 2 of activity) part of Living on the Edge
In this two-day activity, students monitor a simulated evolving volcanic crisis at a convergent plate boundary (Cascadia). Using monitoring data and geologic hazard maps, students make a series of forecasts for ...

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part of Living on the Edge
This unit builds on what students have learned about transform fault hazards to introduce the idea of risk. Students examine earthquake risk along the San Andreas Fault in San Francisco by examining public school ...

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Tracking Tectonic Plates Using Two Independent Methods part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use two independent methods to determine relative plate motions across a plate boundary. They find that plate tectonic theory generally holds up but also discover sophisticated detail (e.g. velocities ...

Using the EXCEL Woburn Flow and Transport Model to Teach Modeling Concepts part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Hydrogeology:Activities
Modeling ties together many subjects taught in an introductory hydrogeology course. The goals of this activity are for students to learn why scientists and engineers use models, what types of models are commonly ...

Unit 1 Hazards at Transform Plate Boundaries part of Living on the Edge
This unit uses scientific data to quantify the geologic hazard that earthquakes represent along transform plate boundaries. Students will document the characteristics of the Pacific/North American plate boundary in ...

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Unit 5 Hazards and Risks at Convergent Plate Boundaries (Day 1 of activity) part of Living on the Edge
In this two-day activity, students monitor an evolving volcanic crisis at a convergent plate boundary (Cascadia). Using monitoring data and geologic hazard maps, students make a series of forecasts for the ...

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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 ...

A Term Research Project Focused on Electron Microprobe Studies of Unknowns in a Junior-Level Mineralogy/Petrology Course part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Jeff Ryan, University of South Florida Summary Two students using the FCAEM Electron microprobe via remote operation in Jeff Ryan's GLY 3311C course. DetailsAs the core activity of petrology portion of a ...

Drinking Water Quality: An Interdisciplinary Research Experience of Introductory Geology and Chemistry Classes part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Robert Shuster, University of Nebraska at Omaha Summary At the University of Nebraska at Omaha, we have involved students in introductory Geology and Chemistry classes in an interdisciplinary study of drinking ...

Undergraduate research students investigate dune processes and change at a Lake Michigan site (Case study from 2007-2008 field season) part of Cutting Edge:Develop Program-Wide Abilities:Undergraduate Research:Case Studies
Deanna van Dijk, Department of Geology, Geography and Environmental Studies, Calvin College Overview of the Project Undergraduate research students working with Deanna van Dijk, a physical geographer and faculty ...

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 ...

Hurricane Tracking part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
This is a homework assignment that focuses student attention on ongoing hurricane/tropical storm development, often during the height of hurricane season. The students are directed to a web site (I like ...

Connecting Cross-Sectional Data from the Red Sea to Plate Tectonics part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Students will use map views and cross-sectional profiles across the Red Sea to determine plate tectonic processes in the region. Google Earth is a technological tool used to facilitate the investigation.

Water Quality-Total Dissolved Solids part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with Data:Examples
Students use a microcomputer connected to a conductivity probe to measure the total dissolved solids in local area water samples. -