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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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Brownfields part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
I split the class into small groups and assign them a list of properties that are suspected of being brownfields. Their job is to do a phase 1 (dig up background information) assessment and do a site visit to take ...

Roadside and Engineering Geology of Auke Bay, Juneau Alaska part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
Final lab for an Introductory Physical Geology class. Students apply a semester of learned geology skills toward evaluating house building sites near our campus. They encounter evidence of faulting, mass wasting, ...

Development of a Syllabus for Environmental Issues course part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy:Activities
Students' participation in developing syllabus for a new course "Issues in Environmental Science." Details are included in the document.

Architectural stone investigation - What makes great buildings? part of Cutting Edge:Public Policy: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. -

Risk Assessment and Regulation in Christchurch, New Zealand part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching about Risk and Resilience:Activities
This activity encourages students to apply public policy and risk regulation concepts to the case of the Canterbury Earthquakes in New Zealand. Students review government websites, media reports, and first-person-narratives, analyze and evaluate policy responses, and consider alternate policy solutions.

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 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. -