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Teaching Activities

These teaching activities have a strong spatial thinking component. Search the collection to find activities suitable for your classes.

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Analyzing the Antarctic Ozone Hole (College Level)
Brian Welch
College-level adaptation of a chapter in the Earth Exploration Toolbook. Examine satellite images of atmospheric ozone in the Southern Hemisphere to study changes in concentration over a time. -

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Introduction to Mineral Identification
Suki Smaglik, Central Wyoming College
The exercise uses an inquiry-based approached to overcome the fear of tackling mineral identification. Few instructions are given and students discover for themselves how to approach identification.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Fluvial and Alluvial Sedimentology Incorporating Google Earth
Elizabeth Cassel, Franklin and Marshall College
A lab activity for an undergraduate sedimentary geology course focused on fluvial and alluvial sedimentology, incorporating Google Earth.

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Geologic Mapping Exercise
Andrew Smith, Vincennes University
This exercise is designed to simulate some of the mapping aspects of a basic geological investigation. This mock geological investigation is a good wrap-up exercise because it incorporates a variety of geological ...

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Observing Streams & Rivers in Google Earth
Jennifer Piatek, Central Connecticut State University
Students are asked to observe fluvial features on both Earth and Mars in satellite images via Google Earth (as well as online panoramas) and explore processes of erosion and deposition and the relationship of ...

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Analyzing Continuous Data - Climate Variability
Sarah Rubinfeld, Carthage College
The exercise focuses on the analysis of continuous data as applied to climate variability. Using data freely available on the internet, students work in Excel to import their data, organize it, and analyze it using ...

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Functional Morphology
Samantha Hopkins, University of Oregon
This is a laboratory exercise has students make inferences about function from skeletal morphology. It uses data collection, quantitative reasoning, and hypothesis testing.

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Marine Oxygen Isotopes and Changes in Global Ice Volume
Ben Laabs, SUNY College at Geneseo
Students explore marine oxygen-isotope data from cores collected by the Ocean Drilling Program. The activity gives students access to real paleoclimate data, develops their skills in organizing and graphing data, ...

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Paleotempestology Lab
Kira Lawrence
Paleotempestology Lab: this lab activity is designed to help students gain experience in relative and absolute dating techniques as well as a sense of how scientific investigations proceed.

CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Rock cycle in chocolate lab
Pete Stelling, Western Washington University
This lab activity simulates the rock cycle with a piece of chocolate instead of actual rock. Students melt, crystallize, erode, lithify and metamorphose a single small block of chocolate. Along the way students ...

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Monument Creek hydraulics project
Eric Leonard, Colorado College
This is a several-part field and computer-based project that involves students in measurement of stream-channel geometry, basic stream-hydraulics calculations, and flood-frequency analysis. Its primary strengths ...

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Earthquake Epicenter Location Exercise using Google Earth and OneNote
Jeffrey Nunn, Louisiana State University
Students are provided with data from 4 seismograms which are used to plot the epicenter of an earthquake using OneNote to pick the P-S wave arrival gap and Google Earth to plot the circles which intersect at the ...

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Using ArcGIS to Study the New Lakes in the Toshka Basin in Egypt and Evaluate Egypt's New Valley Project
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
In this assignment, students use ArcGIS to analyze the new lakes that have formed in the Toshka Depression, Egypt as a result of overflow from Lake Nasser and use their analyses to evaluate the wisdom of the plan ...

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Observations and Measurements in Geology
Stacey Cochiara, New Jersey City University
This exercise gives students an introduction to topics they will encounter throughout the semester, and future course work. It covers plate tectonics, weathering, and basic rock descriptions.

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Fluvial Geomorphology of the Upper Yellowstone River Drainage Basin: Using Google Earth to Analyze Rivers
Lindley Hanson, Salem State University
Students will learn how to make measurements and collect data using Google Earth and NIH ImageJ.

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Computerized Field Trip Preview of the Berkshire Mountains
Chris Condit, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
This is a computer (Windows, Macintosh) based exercise designed to take about two hours. Students use a 5 page short-answer study sheet with the Berkshire Field Trip Map, Guidebook and associated images of the ...

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Poleward Heat Transport Jigsaw
E. Christa Farmer, Hofstra University
Based on great plate tectonic exercise by Sawyer et al. (2005 JGE), this small-group exercise with maps of data about earth's energy balance helps students visualize poleward heat transport.

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Guided Discovery and Scoring Rubric for Petrographic Analysis of a Thin Section
Dave Mogk, Montana State University-Bozeman
A guided discovery approach is used to "unpack" the methods and observations used by "master" petrographers in the petrographic analysis of a thin section. A series of spread sheets are used to ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Emergent Models in Google Earth
Declan De Paor, Old Dominion University
This is one sample of a set of emergent models we are developing for use with Google Earth. Students use the Google Earth time-slider to lift 3D models of the subsurface into view. They can substitute their own ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Paleoecological exercise: Testing competition among Paleozoic brachiopods
David Kendrick, Hobart William Smith Colleges
This lab activity tests the hypothesis that competition has resulted in niche partitioning among four species of brachiopods.

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