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Teaching Activities


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Water and Mud: Linking hydrogeology and landscape change
Hydrogeology textbooks usually do a poor job in linking groundwater to Earth's surface processes, yet the two are closely linked. It is important for the hydrogeology student to understand that surface and ...

Earthquake Demonstration
This demonstration uses an "earthquake machine" constructed from bricks, sand paper, and a winch, to simulate the buildup of elastic strain energy prior to a seismic event and the release of that energy ...

Wind Surge: Interactive On-line Mac and PC
Wind surge is a JAVA based applet for exploring how water level on the windward and leeward side of a basin depends on wind speed, basin length, water depth, and boundary type. -

Stream Gages and GIS
Utilize the online GIS of the USGS real-time stream gage network to introduce basic concepts of data-driven maps and GIS. This exercise can be used independently or with other hydrology exercises. -

Discussion worksheets for popular literature readings on river processes and policy
These five worksheets guide student preparation for in-class discussion of reading assignments from Life on the Mississippi, Cadillac Desert, and The Control of Nature.

The 2004 Sumatra Earthquake and Tsunami
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 ...

Floods over time: death vs. destruction
This exercise looks at the dollar losses and deaths caused by flooding in the US, and at the causes of, and relationships between the two trends.

Quantitative Classroom Exercises
The four exercises give students an opportunity to use their knowledge of graphs, algebra, and maps to solve simple geological problems.

Locating and Measuring Earthquakes Using Real Seismic Data
The objective is to locate an earthquake and measure its Richter magnitude using real data recorded by seismographs.

Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise
In this series of inquiry-based exercises about volcanoes and plate tectonics, students will collect, plot, and interpret data and finish with a role-playing activity and a virtual field trip. -

Rivers: Short In-class Activity
Images of the James River in Virginia, including one at flood stage, and of potholes, all of which can be used to have the students make observations, estimates, and interpretations. -

Reducing Volcanic Hazards to People and Property - An Assignment with Electronic Peer Review
This electronic peer review exercise has students discuss the major volcanic hazards and risks to humans. -

VEPP: Monitoring the Pu'u 'Ō'ō Eruption of Kīlauea Volcano Using Geochemical, Deformation and Seismicity Timeseries Data
Pu'u 'O'o at the end of episode 32 (USGS photograph by J.D. Griggs, 4/22/85, JG5363). This is an exercise that is in development and has not yet been fully tested in the classroom. Please check back ...

Natural Disaster Risk at Home
Students analyze the natural disaster threat and potential mitigation techniques of their (family) home.

Magma Viscosity Demos
This is an interactive lecture where students answer questions about demonstrations shown in several movie files. They learn to connect what they have learned about molecules, phases of matter, silicate crystal structures, and igneous rock classification with magma viscosity, and to connect magma viscosity with volcano explosiveness and morphology.

Frequency of Large Earthquakes -- Introducing Some Elementary Statistical Descriptors
Spreadsheets Across the Curriculum module. Students examine the number of large earthquakes (magnitude 7 and above) per year for 1970-1999 and 1940-1999. QL: descriptors of a frequency distribution.

Flood Days and Good Canoeing Days at Congaree National Park
SSAC Geology of National Parks module/Geology of National Parks course. Students calculate probabilities using USGS hydrograph data, a spreadsheet of daily stage heights, and the COUNTIF function.

Shaking Ground - Linking Earthquake Magnitude and Intensity
An in-class activity for connecting earthquake magnitude, shaking, and intensity.

The Human side of geologic hazards
Students respond in a charitable way to geological or weather related disasters.

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