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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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Superfund Case Study part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This exercise is meant to reinforce concepts covered in the whole course. It helps students integrate concepts from risk and toxicology, air, water and soil pollution, regulation and remediation technology.

Machines that change climate: Porsche 911 Turbo vs. Toyota Prius part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This problem illustrates how consumer decisions can influence carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere, how to make back-of-the-envelope calculations, and demonstrates the power of exponential growth.

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.

Eruption! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
Eruption! is a volcanic crisis simulation model in which students role-play villagers, the governor, volcanologists, and the press, working to preserve their lives and homes from an active volcano. -

Yellowstone Fires part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This module enables students to take a problem-based learning approach to wildfires, in particular whether a "let-it-burn" policy makes sense in Yellowstone National Park. -

The Great Energy Debate part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This lesson plan explores the energy debate in the U.S. Students will hold a mock congressional committee meeting and make decisions about public lands and energy resources. -

The Use of a Piece of Land part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this role-playing exercise, students represent groups interested in buying the same piece of land and will need to consult land-use laws. -

WorldWatcher Project: Global Warming Project part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this exercise, students role-play advisors to various heads of state on the subject of global warming. The web site also has free modeling and GIS software and lesson and lab plans. -

Upper Hudson Dredging Debate part of Cutting Edge:Geology and Human Health:Workshop 04:Activities
This exercise is intended to investigate, in detail, a current environmental problem, namely the environmental dredging of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) from the Upper Hudson River. After an introductory lecture ...

Using Data to Teach Earth ProcessesAn Illustrated Community Discussion at the 2003 Annual Meeting of the Geological Society of America part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Field Experiences:Posters
A virtual and traditional field trip experience that was designed to study how virtual field trips should be used in geoscience curriculum. Field trip exercises are based on a local groundwater controversy that ...