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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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Simulation of international negotiations to reduce greenhouse gas emissions part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Climate Change:Activities
In order to convey how the international community is responding to climate change, students engage in a simulation of the international negotiation process. Participants learn first hand the interests of different ...

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Case Study: Coastal Stabilization Structures part of Cutting Edge:Courses:Oceanography:Activities
This ocean activity is used to help students analyze different solutions to a real-world case study of the problem of using various coastal stabilization structures. It is intended to be used as a small group ...

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A "Jigsaw" Activity for Teaching about Uranium Mining on the Navajo Nation part of Activities
This activity takes an Earth system approach to teach about uranium mining on the Navajo Nation, and can be modified to teach a variety of case studies.

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Understanding the Carbon Cycle: A Jigsaw Approach part of Cutting Edge:Topics:Climate Change:Activities
In this "jigsaw" exercise, each student is assigned one of five geochemical processes in the carbon cycle to research, fully understand, and then explain to others in groups of five. At the end of class ...

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Campus Greenhouse Gas Emissions Inventory part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Campus-Based Learning:Examples
Students conduct a greenhouse gas emission inventory for their college or university. Students analyze findings and present information to the college or university community. -

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Sustainable Urban Adventure part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
In this field based activity students explore their new home in an effort to get acquainted with the community beyond the campus and to experience accessible recreation on a nationally recognized hiking trail. During the nature-based outdoor recreation experience, students explore a variety of natural and cultural history topics.

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Action to Enhance Sustainability part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This assignment is a 10-hour, out-of-class project where each student designs and carries out an action plan to enhance sustainability. Students select from a large suite of alternative actions, most of which can be quantified for reductions in CO2 and energy consumption, as well as in dollar savings.

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Investigative Case - "Goodbye Honey Buckets" part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Investigative Case Based Learning:Examples
Students will investigate arctic geology and hydrology as well as tundra ecology as they consider options for sewage treatment. Public safety, environmental impact, and issues of construction and engineering will be explored.

Environmental Geology of the Area where you Live part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
Students research and report on the environmental geology (resources and hazards) of the area around their home. The project helps develop students' abilities to apply what they have learned.