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Exemplary Teaching Activities

Beginning in 2011, On the Cutting Edge began a process to review the extensive collection of activities submitted by workshop participants and members of the geoscience community. The Review Processes page illuminates the details of the peer review process, and the activities are scored on 5 elements: scientific veracity; alignment of goals, activity, and assessment; pedagogical effectiveness; robustness; and completeness of the ActivitySheet. The activities that score very highly in these areas become part of the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection and are featured below. To date, activities in the mineralogy, petrology, geochemistry, environmental geology, structural geology, geophysics, and tectonics areas have been reviewed so the exemplary collection is composed of activities from these topics. As the review of additional areas is completed, exemplary activities from the rest of the collection will be included here.


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Calculation of your personal carbon footprint part of Energy:Energy Activities
Scott Giorgis, University of Wisconsin-Madison
This worksheet walks the students through the steps for calculating their personal carbon footprint. Additionally it helps them consider options for reducing their carbon footprint and the potential costs of those ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Cladogram Construction and Vertebrate Phylogeny part of Paleontology:Activities
Sarah Fowell, University of Alaska Fairbanks
Students are given pictures of a variety of extant vertebrates. They work in groups to determine which animals are most closely related. Following a series of clicker questions and a discussion of the ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Creature Features - Showcase of Living Fossils part of Paleontology:Activities
David Sunderlin, Lafayette College
This activity connects the fossil record to biodiversity in the Recent by having students present on a "living fossil" group. The exercise is useful in demonstrating evolutionary stasis, reminding ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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When Pond Scum Ruled the Earth - The Proterozoic Fossil Record part of Paleontology:Activities
Julie Bartley, Gustavus Adolphus College;
In this specimen-based activity, students examine microfossils and stromatolites and build an understanding of the Proterozoic paleontological record.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Paleoecology Lab part of Paleontology:Activities
James Ebert, SUNY College at Oneonta
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Historical Earthquakes and Uplift/Subsidence of Sumatra from Coral Growth Rings -- Advanced Version part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Elisabeth Nadin, University of Alaska Fairbanks
In this lab, students will use data from real corals collected in Sumatra to track the sea-level and earthquake record of the region over the past century.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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A Geologic Safari of the East African Rift and the Newark Basin: Why these areas are more alike than you know part of MARGINS Data in the Classroom:MARGINS Mini-Lessons
Margaret Benoit, College of New Jersey, The
This activity explores the similarity and differences between the Newark Rift Basin and East African Rift.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Energy Gallery Walk part of Energy:Energy Activities
Katharine Ellis, Front Range Community College
This is a cooperative learning activity using the Gallery Walk Strategy (strategy from the Starting Point Gallery Walk web pages) to enrich student understanding of the complex nature of solving our nation's ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Oil Demand and Consumption part of Process of Science:Examples
Steve Iona, University of Denver
Data modeling activity using oil reserve and consumption data. Students predict when oil reserves meet or exceed reserves.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Taxonomy & Phylogeny: Building and Comparing a Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Bivalve Mollusks part of Paleontology:Activities
Michael Savarese, Florida Gulf Coast University
This is a two-part exercise that introduces the principles and methods behind taxonomy and phylogenetics. In part I, students, by describing the morphology of various species of modern and fossil bivalve mollusks, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.