Tale of Two Cities (and two hurricanes): New Orleans
This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection
This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are
- Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.
This page first made public: Apr 2, 2012
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
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Description and Teaching Materials
This activity is offered in two versions. The first is a typical SSAC module, which is contained in a single PowerPoint file that contains the Excel spreadsheet as an embedded file:
- A PowerPoint presentation with an embedded Excel spreadsheet; PPT (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7.1MB Apr27 12)
- A Powerpoint presentation that is designed to be viewed alongside the Excel spreadsheet; PPTX (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 7.8MB Apr27 12)
- A macro-enabled Excel spreadsheet file that performs the calculations; XLSM ( 1.3MB Apr27 12)
- A follow-up quiz based on the spreadsheet; PDF (Acrobat (PDF) 180kB Mar15 12)
Teaching Notes and Tips
The traditional version of the activity can be run on any computer, including Macs. The macro-enabled spreadsheets can only be run on PCs running Excel 2007/2010; I've been told they may work on Macs running the newest version of Office (Excel 2012), but I'm not sure. Upon completion the auto-graded spreadsheet a code is generated that that encrypts the student's score and name. The instructor then decrypts the code to get the score and ensure that the student hasn't cheated by copying someone else's code (it won't work).The vast majority of students choose the auto-graded version of the activities and typically score better than 95%. The modal score is 100%.
Assessment depends on which version is used. For the traditional version, the instructor grades the spreadsheet file which contains both the calculations and answers to essay-type questions.
The auto-graded versions are different, in that spreadsheet activities are set up as a series of tasks that students MUST complete perfectly before they can move on. Most students get 100% on the spreadsheet portion. Students then take a follow-up quiz which asks the students to reflect on the calculations, and make some additional calculations that involve changing a number or two. These are graded.
References and Resources
Juster, T., Spreadsheet activities with conditional progression and automatically generated feedback and grades, submitted. reference
Burkett, V.R., Zilkoski, D.B., and Hart, D.A., Sea-level rise and subsidence: Implications for flooding in New Orleans, Louisiana, available at: http://www.nwrc.usgs.gov/hurricane/katrina_rita/Sea-Level-Rise.pdf.
Dixon, T.H., Amelung, F., Ferretti, A., Novali, F., Rocca, F., Dokka. R., Sella, G., Kim, S-W., Widowinski, S., and Whitman, D., 2006, Subsidence and flooding in New Orleans. Nature 44, 587-588.
Dokka, R.K., 2006, Modern-day tectonic subsidence in coastal Louisiana, Geology 34 (4) 281-284.
Dokka, R.K., Sella, G.F., and Dixon, T.H., 2006, Tectonic control of subsidence and southward displacement of southeast Louisiana with respect to stable North America, Geophysical Research Letters 33, L23308.
Dunbar, J.B. and Britsch III, L.D., 2008, Geology of the New Orleans area and the Canal Levee failures, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 134 (5), 566-582.
Grossi, P. and Muir-Wood, R., 2006, Flood risk in New Orleans, Risk Management Solutions Inc., available at: http://www.rms.com/Publications/NO_FloodRisk.pdf.
Hart, D., 2006, Exploration of subsidence and elevation in Orleans Parrish. Available at: http://coastal.lic.wisc.edu/urpl969-katrina/urpl969-group2-paper-03May06.pdf.
Meckel, T.A., ten Brink, U.S., and Williams, S. J., 2006, Current subsidence rates due to compaction of Holocene sediments in southern Louisiana, Geophysical Research Letters 33, L11403.
Rogers, J.D., 2008, Development of the New Orleans flood protection system prior to Hurricane Katrina, Journal of Geotechnical and Geoenvironmental Engineering 134 (5) 602-617.
Snowden, J.O., Drainage-induced land subsidence in metropolitan New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Available at: http://iahs.info/redbooks/a151/iahs_151_0507.pdf.
Tornqvist, T., Wallace, D.J., Storms, J.E.A., Wallinga, J., Van Dam, R.L., Blaauw, M., Dersken, M.S., Klerks, C.J.W., Meijneken, C., and Snijders, E.M.A., 2008, Mississippi delta subsidence primarily caused by compatction of Holocene strata, Nature Geoscience 11, 173-176.
US Army Corps of Engineers, 2007, Performance Evaluation of the New Orleans and Southeast Lousiana Hurricane Protection System, Volume 1: Executive Summary and Overview. Available at: http://media.nola.com/hurricane_katrina/other/060106corps_vol7.pdf.
Waltham, T., 2005, The flooding of New Orleans, Geology Today 21 (6): 225-231.
Yuill, B., Lavoie, D., and Reed, D.J., 2009, Understanding subsidence processes in coastal Louisiana. Journal of Coastal Research 54, 23-36.