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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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Who Polluted Surface and Groundwater in This Place? part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use water-well data and geology to determine which site caused groundwater and surface-water contamination.

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Wooster Case Study - Capture Curve Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Hydrogeology:Activities
This Excel based exercise has students calculate the shape of the capture zone of a contaminant recovery well. Students perform a sensitivity analysis by varying aquifer and pumping parameters to observe the impact ...

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Working with Electron Microprobe Data from a High Pressure Experiment - Calculating Mineral Formulas, Unit Cell Content, and Geothermometry part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
In this problem set students use electron microprobe analyses of a peridotite partial melting experiment to determine mineral formulas, calculate unit cell content, plot results on a classification diagram, and use ...

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Where is that chunk of crust going? part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Introductory Courses:Activities
I introduce students to GPS, frames of reference, and the permanent GPS stations in the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) in class, and obtain near-real-time data for two stations from UNAVCO. We use ...

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Weathering of Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary Rocks in a Semi-Arid Climate - An Engineering Application of Petrology part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Petrology:Teaching Examples
Students examine soils developed on igneous, metamorphic, and sedimentary rocks near Denver, Colorado. The 2-week exercise includes sample collection, description, and preparation, determining clay mineralogy by ...

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Working with USGS discharge data part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
In this exercise, we use the USGS real-time data available online, and use it to construct a rating curve for the Walla Walla river near Touchet. We then make a simple model of flood inundation in ArcGIS for the ...

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Watershed area and discharge relationships part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
Students use USGS WaterData website to find data on area, average annual discharge and response to high-precip events in small watersheds in southern New England. Data for the class are compiled to generate graphs ...

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What is the Volume of the 1992 Eruption of Cerro Negro Volcano, Nicaragua? part of Pedagogy in Action:Partners:Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum:Physical Volcanology:Examples
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to calculate the volume a tephra deposit using an exponential-thinning model.

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Abrupt climate change, greenhouse gases, and the bipolar see-saw part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
In this activity, students work with paleoclimate proxy data (d18O, CH4, CO2)from the Byrd and GISP2 ice cores. Students prepare a graph of paleoclimate data and use the graph to answer several questions about the ...

Radiometric Dating Isochron exercise part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
Hands-on introduction to using the isochron method to determine radiometric ages.

Consequences of Modern Energy Use: A Remote Sensing analysis of the gulf oil spill using ArcGIS software. part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
Students download satellite imagery and conduct a remote sensing analysis of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill using ArcGIS software.

Earthquake resistant design part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
In groups of two, the students design and build a three-story building to be as earthquake resistant as possible. Using an in-house designed and built shaker table, we load each floor of the building based on area ...

Hot spot volcanism in western North America part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students use real data on age of volcanism and ash thickness distribution to better understand hot spot volcanic activity.

Plotting Florida River Data Using Excel part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise is used to prepare students to analyze data they will collect during their group project. It familiarizes students with previously collected data, and builds skills graphing and interpreting data.

Introduction to Earthquake Seismology Methods part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This lab introduces students of aspects of earthquake seismology methods. These include analysis of p-wave amplitude, location of an earthquake epicenter and determining the time of occurrence of an earthquake. ...

Weather Map Assignment part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This assignment assesses how well students are able to record and synthesize basic meteorological data.

Volcanoes Around the Globe part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
Undergraduate non-majors use the Arcview geographic information system (GIS) to explore volcanic hazards and the geochemistry of volcanic rocks. Students explore geochemical data from the GEOROC global database and ...

Using GIS to Construct Water Table Maps and Flow Nets part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
Seepage lake elevation data from the Sand Hills of Nebraska is used to construct a water table map and flow net using ESRI's ArcMap software. Students learn how to use GIS software to analyze patterns of ...

Exploring Seafloor Topography part of Earth Exploration Toolbook:Sea Floor
DATA: Digital Elevation Model Data. TOOL: GeoMapApp. SUMMARY: Explore a timeline about how we have learned about the oceans. Construct a profile across the Atlantic Ocean and create 3-D visualizations of the seafloor.

The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami part of Cutting Edge:Visualization:Examples
In this multi-part activity, students study seismograms from different seismic stations recording the Sumatra earthquake of December 26th, 2004 and then determine the epicenter of the quake and track the tsunami it ...