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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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Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and Water Resources part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This activity will demonstrate how water quality and environmental health issues can be analyzed together, how hydrologic information can be built up, and how decisions can be made using GIS.

Service Learning and Local Hydrogeology in the Classroom: An example from Anchorage, Alaska part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
A semester long project in which students work in small groups to analyze a local hydrogeology issue of importance to the community.

Western water law project part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
This activity allows students to use role-playing to learn about the connection between surface water and ground water.

'A Civil Action' 1-D Transport Game part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Activities
The 'A Civil Action' 1-D Transport Game is executed in an EXCEL spreadsheet and is designed to help students learn why models are used by scientists and engineers and what procedures must be met to ...

Discussion worksheets for popular literature readings on river processes and policy part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
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.

Transnational Pollution: Why Are You Dumping on Me? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the different types of transnational pollution, by having them role-play in a hypothetical disaster on the Danube River. -

Using Mass Balance to Understand Atmospheric CFCs part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with Data:Examples
Students use an interactive online mass balance model help understand the observed levels of chlorofluorocarbon CFC-12 over the recent past. -

Lessons on River Ecosystems part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
These lessons immerse students in thinking about the big idea of an environmental system as a network of interrelationships and evaluating the goodness of policy options for the environment in the future.

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 Cutting Edge:Public Policy: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 ...