Cutting Edge > Data, Simulations and Models > Classroom Activities

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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Plume Busters part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
Students take on the role of a consultant to solve an environmental problem that could have dire consequences for a nearby community. This activity can be used to initiate discussion on a range of public policy ...

Hurricane Tracking part of Cutting Edge: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 ...

Dating Students: Relative vs. Numerical Time part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This activity introduces students to the fundamental ideas of relative versus radiometric dating, using the students themselves as a sample population. In the first half, the students attempt to order the people in ...

Acoustic Waves and Seismac part of Cutting Edge:Geodesy:Activities
The students will expand on their knowledge of acoustic signals (from class lectures and book readings) by watching videos and doing an in-class exercise with the seismac program.

Exploring Air Quality in Aura NO2 Data part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Aura
DATA: NASA Aura nitrogen dioxide data. TOOL: Google Earth. SUMMARY: Learn about photochemical smog. Explore the relationships among human population density, nitrogen dioxide concentrations, and geography.

Exploring Monsoon Precipitation and Streamflow in a Semi-Arid Watershed part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Exploring the Sabino Canyon
DATA: Precipitation, streamflow, and topographic data TOOLS: Google Earth & My World GIS SUMMARY: Explore a semi-arid watershed in Arizona. Investigate the effect of summer thunderstorms on streamflow.

Analyzing Plate Motion Using EarthScope GPS Data part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Analyzing Tectonic Plate Motion with GPS Data
DATA: EarthScope GPS Data. TOOLS: Spreadsheet, Google Maps. SUMMARY: Learn how GPS monuments make precise measurements of Earth's surface. Graph motion data and map velocity vectors to explore tectonic motion and surface deformation in the Pacific Northwest.

Investigating the Effect of Warmer Temperatures on Hurricanes part of Cutting Edge:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
Students investigate the link between ocean temperatures and hurricane intensity, analyze instrumental and historical data and speculate on possible future changes.

Analyzing Hurricanes part of Cutting Edge:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
The exercise uses GIS to explore historical data on hurricanes (path, strength, name). Students identify trends in hurricane records, the impact of hurricanes on major U.S. cities, and how hurricanes change through ...

Tropical Cyclones and Global Change part of Cutting Edge:Hurricanes-Climate Change Connection:Activities
This is a full semester project focusing on tropical cyclones and climate change for my undergraduate tropical meteorology class. It consists of five parts, outlined below.

From Ocean Topography to Flexural Rigidity part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Students will use the available bathymetric datasets to test the utility of a flexural rigidity model of oceanic crust.

Oil and Gas Exploration Project part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students play the role of a geologist for an oil and gas exploration company. Given a budget and some basic geological information they are required to bid on leases, explore, drill, and hopefully produce at a ...

Net Radiation and Temperature part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This assignment helps students think about how net radiation affects surface temperature.

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.

Impact of climate change on endangered fish population in Pyramid Lake part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:AGU Modeling Workshop 2010:Activity Ideas
Karletta Chief, Hydrologic Sciences, Desert Research Institute Topic: hydrology, ecology Course type: Graduate level course Description Pyramid Lake Pyramid Lake is located approximately 40 miles northeast of ...

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.

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.

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.