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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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Earth's Radiation Budget: Part 1
Bob Mackay, Clark College
In this activity students explore the Earth's radiation budget using Earth radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) data archived at the IRI/LDEO Climate Data Library (more info) . -

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Whose Fault Is It Anyway?
Eric Muller
This game has students simulate the propagation of P and S waves after an earthquake and to use the lag between these to determine where in the simulation the earthquake occurred. -

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Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

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The Lifestyle Project
Karin Kirk, Carleton College
This three-week project challenges students to learn about environmental alternatives by modifying their own lifestyles. Throughout the project, students reduce their impacts on the environment by changing the way ...

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Radiocarbon dating project
Mark Schmitz, Boise State University
This is an example of an activity used in a Quaternary Geochronology course, in which a small group of students (3-4) is tasked with transforming a set of activity measurements into radiocarbon ages and calibrated ...

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Using Google Earth to measure seacliff erosion rates
Alfred Hochstaedter, Monterey Peninsula College
This lab uses Google Earth to measure the rate of seacliff retreat. It touches upon coastal processes, natural hazards, and coastal management issues. The central focus of the lab is in the Monterey Bay area.

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Campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory
Suzanne Savanick, Macalester College. Email: shansen2@macalester.edu Suzanne Savanick and Chris Wells co-taught a class like this for the Macalester College environmental studies senior seminar during spring 2008.
Students conduct a greenhouse gas emission inventory for their college or university. Students analyze findings and present information to the college or university community. -

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Student Lead Discussions: Articles from the Literature and Final Writing Assignment
Dave Dempsey, San Francisco State University
This is a two-stage assignment. The first stage is a student-led discussion of a set of closely related articles selected by the instructors from the climate change literature. The second stage is an 8-12 page ...

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Confirmation of the IPCC Prediction re: Increased Storminess
Robert Kuhlman, Montgomery County Community College
A two-part culminating activity for a meteorology/climatology unit in an Earth Science course centered upon data acquisition and analysis regarding the confirmation of the IPCC predicition regarding increased ...

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Exercise 5: The human impact of sea level changes, plus extensions to impacts of other natural events on human populations
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Barbara and David Tewksbury, Hamilton College Summary In this eight-part exercise, students download NOAA high resolution bathy/topo DEMs and TIGER census data to predict the location of shorelines, the extent of ...

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