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Thoughts on Profiles  

Hi all- Thanks to all for the hard work on the profiles.
The primary goal for this workshop is for each of you to leave with a new activity that you can use in your teaching. Some of you may want to do this individually, but others might be interested in a team approach. When I was reading the profiles, several included ideas for activities that might be amenable to a team approach -- so I point them out here in case you want to check them out. Note that I haven't checked with the authors as to whether or not they would like help -- so if you are interested in becoming a team, start a conversation with them to clarify their interest.

Story Problems for the Midwest - Chad Heinzel
Online Lab for Intro/High School - Maria Serena
Reading, evaluating and discussing papers - Cindy Shellito
An activity that can be done in a large class - Cindy Shellito
GIS case based activity for a small class - Christopher Van de Ven

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I am definitely open to working with a team. I have a shapefile of hurricane tracks from NOAA that I have used in past exercises (just on hurricanes), and I think that, combined with some SST and other data sets, we could create a great exercise.

My goal is to make the GIS-aspect of it very basic, so it could be used by students with no GIS background.

--Chris Van de Ven

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Hello, I am also interested in collaborating in project ideas. I will elaborate on what I mean by story problems later today. The basic ideas are to build problems around available on-line data sets. These problems would/could be referenced within a simple GIS framework, and cumulatively used by the students to build basic models in hopes of leaving the 'story problem' and moving into interpretation and prediction.

more in a bit...

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Hi - I am also interested in collaborating on my ideas. Dave Dempsey has posted a great activity description that involves reading journal articles to prepare students for a writing assignment (I think he uses some of the same articles I do) - I like the format, but I need something that can be done in 1-2 50 minute class periods...I would also like to incorporate some data analysis in connection with the reading...

Unfortunately, I have to miss most of the interactive sessions today - but I will be catching up and working on this during the afternoon...

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Just thought of another topic I am very interested in (but probably don't have time to pursue this week!). I'd really like to know if anyone has developed a hurricane & climate change lesson or activity for an ONLINE ONLY class (either at the intro or more advanced level)...

This is something else I'd be willing to work on with others - perhaps at a later date?

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"...if anyone has developed a hurricane & climate change lesson or activity for an ONLINE ONLY class ..."

Cindy -- the activity which I presented yesterday afternoon on the IPCC confirmation would be easily adapted to an online activity. I've been teaching a lab-based online section of Earth Science for 9 years and though I don't use this particular activity in that section, I don't see any reason it couldn't be used that way. It's delivered through the web, and students access web-based data. It's currently designed to be done collaboratively in small groups, and that could be accommodated via asynchronous interactivity in the online cohort. Alternatively, with slight modification, it could be configured to be done by students individually. Just a thought...

What I'm finding is that as I do more and more web-based instruction in my face-to-face sections, I find my aspirations, objectives, and delivery modes for online and face-to-face are converging.

Rob

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I would love to join Cindy et al. to work on a "large group" exercise... in my case, 30-55 students in a "lecture hall" (fixed seats and benches). Something data-driven, maybe looking at thermocline temperatures before and after the passage of a hurricane? Maybe looking at maps of tracks during El Nino and La Nina years or high/low NAO years? Something that would get students working with lat/lon, physical oceanography, basic atmospheric science... I envision this as the one "fluid earth" piece in our intro phys geology course... since we are close to sea level here on Long Island, I think this would be of great interest to the students...

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Rob (Kuhlman): I haven't surveyed all the activities that people have developed or proposed, but from what I've seen so far, yours comes the closest to what I think I'd like to try, so I'm probably going to use yours as a point of departure.

Some similarities in our teaching contexts include: the students are non-science majors in a GE geosciences class; the classroom is equipped with networked laptop computers (in my case, roughly one per 2-3 students); students sit at tables facing each other instead of in desks or chairs facing the front of the room (though at least in our case the chairs are on rollers so students can easily reorient to face any direction and roll around to form groups); a significant amount of teaching/learning can be mediated through the campus Web-based course management software (in my case, based on Moodle).

Some differences: my class is larger (40-45 students instead of 25); my students are upper-division students instead of community college students; the course is about meteorology and a little oceanography alone, not geosciences more broadly; my class doesn't have a lab but meets 3 hours per week in two, 1 hour and 15 minute blocks; the exercise I have in mind would likely extend for a longer period (more than the 2 days [how many hours?] that yours took) so that I can address more objectives and build in more content coverage. It would potentially have a more substantial writing component (students in this type of GE class are supposed to do at least 10 pages of substantial writing).

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Dave -- Go for it! By the way, I'm envious your institution has decided to use Moodle. We're stuck with Blackboard, and it seems each version is clunkier and slower than the previous.

Today I've done some browsing utilizing references and URLs which our presenters have provided, and I'm quite impressed with the info available from the HURDAT resources. I'm working on a short activity (I'm about a day behind everyone else it feels...) in which students will look for a correlation between NAO index and hurricane frequency, and I'm contemplating moving the hurricane resource over to HURDAT from the Unisys site. Or not... Maybe I'll have one-half use the Unisys data and one-half the HURDAT data and see what we come up with. The point of all this is you may wish to browse through the HURDAT site and see if there's anything there which you might use.

Rob

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Rob: I take it that you'd like your students to test the hypothesis that observed variations in hurricane intensities and frequencies can be explained by sea surface temperature variations associated with the NAO (a natural cycle or "natural cycle") rather than global warming. That would be fun to do.

Do you have (or plan to add) a component to these exercises in which students consult the literature about tests of hurricane-climate change hypotheses by scientists (or perhaps I should call them "other scientists" or "professional scientists"!). Connecting the results of student investigations with what the professional community considers known--and what it considers still uncertain or unknown--seems like a valuable next stage in this fundamentally inquiry-based approach.

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Dave -- a terrific idea! If I have time before our workshop ends on Friday, I'll try to squeeze it in. And if I don't make the dealine, there's always Saturday :>) I should admit that I haven't yet done a literature search to see what's out there; I'm sort of feeling my way through this. (I do have the students due some research assessment in the 'third unit' of my course -- the testing the Alvarez hypothesis -- when they do some impact crater modeling experiments and compare their results with real craters and numeric modeling results.)

Rob

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Rob - Thanks for the suggestion regarding the online class - I didn't get to hear your presentation yesterday (but have it downloaded now)...

Christa - and anyone else who is interested - I am still interested in developing a 'large-class' activity - I teach an introductory meteorology class with ~70 people in a lecture hall that is nicknamed 'the gladiator pit' and a digital projector with spotty reliability :)...I'm thinking of something that could be fairly short, but would involve looking at data perhaps in print format. I like the idea you mentioned, Christa - of having them look at differences in hurricane frequency/tracks in El Nino vs La Nina years...I think an activity like this could have different learning objectives depending on the class. I'd like my students to understand the connection between changes in upper level winds associated with El Nino & hurricane frequency...

Just brainstorming here...But perhaps the class could be divided into thirds - one group looking at El Nino, one at La Nina, and one at an ENSO-neutral year...Present each large group with a data appropriate for their year...

If anyone knows of any activities already along this line, feel free to jump in!

Cindy

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I love this idea about the El Nino/La Nina/neutral year. That sounds like a great project!

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Cindy-
Sounds like your classroom is less than stellar! And I was just complaining that my seats don't move... :-) I'm going to prioritize my curriculum development to work on my tank idea (see activity response thread, I didn't make a web page for it yet) for my big class next spring, only because I hope a real live experiment will get the students more interested than just data alone... but when I teach my paleoclimatology class and my intro climate system class next fall maybe I'll work on the ENSO-hurricane idea! Let me know if you get anywhere with it... I like the division into thirds. Maybe you could look at the factors in Klotzbach & Gray (2003)that increased skill of the Sep forecast: "low sea level pressure in the tropical
Atlantic, La Nin˜a conditions in the Pacific, and easterly
zonal wind anomalies at 200 mb throughout most of the Tropics for active Septembers"...
--Christa

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Thanks for the suggestion, Christa - I'll let you know if I develop this activity for my intro class this semester - and how it goes. I'm teaching a paleoclimatology class next semester also, and I might be able to use this there as well...
Cindy

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