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Teaching Activities

These teaching activities have been submitted via a number of projects including On the Cutting Edge and may be useful in teaching Environmental Geology.


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Drinking Water Quality: An Interdisciplinary Research Experience of Introductory Geology and Chemistry Classes
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 ...

Using Learning Assistants to Support Peer Instruction with Classroom Response Systems ("Clickers")
Stephanie Chasteen
Learning Assistants are used to facilitate student discussion in peer instruction during clicker questions (i.e., classroom response systems), by asking Socratic questions, emphasizing reasoning, and probing student thinking.

Climate Change: Carbon Dioxide Data Analysis
Brock Spencer, Beloit College; Marty St. Clair, Coe College

The Sustainability Triangle: How Do We Apply Science to Decision Making?
Brian Naasz, Pacific Lutheran University
This writing assignment uses the "Sustainable Development Triangle" as a framework to critically evaluate an environmental issue of the student's choice. This learning activity provides an opportunity for an introductory chemistry student to use the sustainability's "Triple Bottom Line" as a tool to use material learned in the classroom to look at how environmental science helps inform economic and social/cultural factors in the development of sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges.

Integrating Sustainability Concepts into First Quarter General Chemistry
Gerry Prody, Western Washington University
The goal of this project is to insert sustainability concepts and issues into the general chemistry curriculum. Specifically, I focus on carbon as the example to be considered throughout the quarter.

Bottled Versus Tap Water: What You Drink and Why
Marie Villarba, Seattle Central Community College
In the activity students learn about the properties of solutions, acidity and pH, electrolytes versus non-electrolytes, and solution concentration. Hopefully, this activity will also dispel common misconceptions about tap water and bottled beverages.

How Many Plants Make a Future? The Carbon Dioxide Challenge
Rus Higley, Highline Community College Marine Science and Technology Center, Vanessa Hunt and Timothy Sorey, Central Washington University
This activity focuses on the role of photosynthesis in a sustainable future. Students explore the effect of photosynthesis and respiration in a 'closed systems' containing plankton, marine plants, and fish. By calculating carbon dioxide uptake and production in these systems, they predict a plant: animal ratio sufficient to maintain a system in carbon dioxide 'balance' for one hour.

Swimming Upstream: Relating Trapped Energy in Organic Hydrogenations to Use of Reduced Hydrocarbons as Energy Sources
Shane E. Hendrickson, Wenatchee Valley College
An activity designed to inform the student of the potential and pitfalls of storing energy by the generation of reduced organic molecules, particularly as pertains to the generation of ethanol from molecules of a greater oxidation state and the ultimate fate of oxidized carbon when the energy potential is realized. As a part of a discussion of sustainability issues, the activity will be part of a discussion of global energy generation and use and couched in a form similar to the US energy flow trends.

What is the True Cost of Burning Coal?
Justin C. Lytle, Pacific Lutheran University
This activity is a framework for general chemistry students to explore the costs, ethics and alternatives to coal-fired electricity.

Exploring The Impact of Increased Acid Levels in Ocean Waters on Coral
Dharshi Bopegedera, The Evergreen State College
The goal of this laboratory is to help students understand that burning fossil fuels, which results in an increase in the acidity of ocean waters, has a detrimental impact on marine life (specifically coral but also other organisms that have calcium carbonate based shells).

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