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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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Architectural stone investigation - What makes great buildings? part of Activities
This small group research project, and accompanying field trip, gives students an opportunity to investigate issues related to city planning, building design and usage, and earth materials used as architectural ...

The Grand Canyon part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This interdisciplinary lesson plan deals with the consequences of damming in the Grand Canyon area. The students, role-playing as scientists, write a proposal to try experimental flooding. -

The Energy Conundrum part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
This is a lecture aimed at preparing students for making the leap from what is to what ought to be. In it, I present the main sociological theories about poverty and examine several places I've lived---New ...

Petroleum Use Jigsaw Activity/Homework part of Cutting Edge:Energy:Energy Activities
Students get one of 3 homework assignments. They then gather in groups, one that has completed each homework to answer questions as a group. The exercises estimate current oil usage, reserves, and amounts available ...

Cost Effectiveness of Increased Fuel Efficiency part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Teaching Quantitative Reasoning with the News:Examples
In this example students examine and critique an argument which implies that it is not cost effective to pay for an automobile with increased fuel efficiency. Using a few reasonable assumptions shows that some of ...

California Climate: Pacific Ocean Connection part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
I use this lesson as a group assignment in my Earth Science classes. In the face-to-face and field studies classes, the groups present their findings/and recommendations to the class on the last meeting day.

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.

Petroleum Depletion by Inquiry part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
This is a draft of a guided inquiry activity to help students become aware of the problem of petroleum depletion or peak oil. Students use existing data to make projections of future discoveries and consumption. It ...

Interactive Model Problem Set part of Cutting Edge:Complex Systems:Teaching Activities
This is a problem set for the course Modeling and Assessment for Policy (graduate course at MIT). It is designed to enable students to use interactive models and reflect on their use in a policy context. It relates ...

Marine Noise Pollution Silent Socratic Dialogue part of Geoscience in Two-year Colleges:Activities
In this Oceanography activity, students learn about the history of marine noise pollution and its effects on marine life, particularly cetaceans. The activity concludes with a paired debate using the Silent Socratic Dialogue method.