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Classroom Activities for Teaching Public Policy in the Earth Sciences

This collection of teaching materials allows for the sharing of ideas and activities within the community of geoscience teachers. Do you have a favorite teaching activity you'd like to share? Please help us expand this collection by contributing your own teaching materials.

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Energy and the Poor - Black Carbon in Developing Nations part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
In this activity, students will explore impacts of the use of wood, dung and charcoal in developing countries for fuel, producing black carbon. In-class discussion will generate a list of several broad topics, ...

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The Lifestyle Project part of Activities
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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Investigating contaminant transport and environmental justice issues in a local watershed through service learning projects with Sierra Club part of Cutting Edge:Service Learning:Activities
Students will be applying hydrogeology concepts and methods in the lab and the field and conducting interviews as part of a coherent characterization of water quality issues and potential risks in local low-income, ...

Plume Busters part of Activities
Students take on the role of a consultant to solve an environmental problem that could have dire consequences for a nearby community. This activity can be used to initiate discussion on a range of public policy ...

Resource Usage Project and Journal part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
Students keep track of one resource (water, electricity, gas, etc.) they use for a 7-day period. They summarize their usage patterns, give opinions, and get some self-realization about their habits.

An Experiential Pedagogy for Sustainability Ethics: The Externalities Game part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
The Externalities Game is a non-cooperative game that teaches students about the concept of environmental externalities and allows them to directly experience the moral dimensions of collective action problems. It ...

Writing and Walking, Pilgrimage and Process: Working with the Essays of Linda Hogan & Henry David Thoreau part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
By comparing and contrasting the essays of Hogan and Thoreau, students begin to develop a more complex understanding of their own identity and sense of place; the historical and cultural context around issues of sustainability and environmental ethics.

Recognizing the Impact of Dominant Culture Privilege part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This sequence of five assignments, starting with the study of texts, has students taking a look at the concept of dominant culture privilege and then moving them out into their own world to analyze what they're seeing there.

Extending "The Land Ethic" and The Golden Rule to the Whole Biotic Community part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
A component of an Introduction to Ethics course involving research and reporting on a specific sustainability issue. The class presentation will help the student think about extending Leopold's "Land Ethic" and "The Golden Rule" to the whole biotic community.

Ethics, Gender, and Climate Change part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
The purpose of the assignment is twofold: first, to expose students to what is sometimes called a "feminist" or "care" perspective in ethics. The second is for students to apply these abstract ideas in ethics to the very real and complex issues relating to climate change in environmental ethics.

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