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AP/IB/Honors Environmental Science Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level environmental science courses. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.


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Energy Balance Game part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
This online game activity introduces students to Earth's radiative energy balance. It also explores the use of a simple climate model in the attribution of climate change.

Riparian Plant Lab part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
In this field exercise for an introductory environmental science course, students investigate plant cover and type in a riparian area using transects. The final assignment is a lab report that includes a summary data table, a graph of cover types along their transect and an analysis of riparian health.

Reasons for the Seasons part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
The inquiry method and meteorological and astronomical online data can be used to elicit the inconsistencies of students' naïve ideas about the "real" reasons for the seasons. The first phase of this two-part investigation uses online meteorological data to identify factors that might explain differences of seasonal temperatures among cities These factors are used to hypothesize why differences of seasonal temperatures occur among cities. During the second phase, the variables and hypotheses that were previously identified in part one are used to design and conduct an inquiry-oriented investigation. Astronomical data is used as part of the investigation to "test" students' hypotheses conclusions are drawn then communicated.

Lahar Risk Assessment part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
Students act as first responders assessing Lahar risks associated with eruptions. Teacher sets an alert placemark on the Google Earth web browser plug-in and gives students X minutes to decide whether to evacuate a down-slope town. Students collaborate by text messages.

Transport of heavy metals in the Clark Fork River part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
This is an activity about transport of sediment contaminated by copper, arsenic, and other heavy metals that was deposited into the Clark Fork River channel as the result of historical mining activity. The Clark Fork River between Butte and Milltown, Montana has been the focus of several large superfund projects designed to address the impacts of this legacy of mining in the watershed. This activity is used in an introductory physical geology lab (primarily non-majors) with students who may have limited experience working with quantitative analysis and analyzing graphs.

The Ecological Footprint Dilemma part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
How big is your ecological footprint? This case will assist students in quantifying this construct and allow them to reflect on life styles and alternative approaches that can help them reduce their ecological impacts.

Financial Incentives of Open Access Resource Overuse part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
In this activiy when property rights are absent participants have financial incentive to take what they can get immediatly as opposed to waiting until the resource is more valuable. Adding strong property rights provides the proper finanacial incentives for students to wait to extract the resource when it is most valuable.

Using Lab Measurements to Determine the Feasibility of a Photovoltaic Panel part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
Using Lab Measurements to determine the power output of a solar module and the economic feasibility of photovoltaic panels

Exploring Easter Island Economics with Excel part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities

Using concept mapping to experientially introduce systems thinking part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This activity uses concept mapping as a tool for students to experience the complexity that is inherent in many sustainability-related issues.

Sustainable Urban Adventure part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
In this field based activity students explore their new home in an effort to get acquainted with the community beyond the campus and to experience accessible recreation on a nationally recognized hiking trail. During the nature-based outdoor recreation experience, students explore a variety of natural and cultural history topics.

Introduction to Global Climate Change Through Classroom Discussion part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
A classroom discussion about global climate change designed for a general undergraduate classroom. Discussion is facilitated by a 10-15 minute brainstorming session or gallery walk.

Stabilization Wedges Game part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
Learning about complexities carbon stabilization firsthand with the Princeton University Carbon Mitigation Initiave's Sabilization Wedges Game

Sustainability Buffet -- What's in a Definition? part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This is an introductory activity to generate student discussion and provoke thought on the definition of sustainability.

Offshore wind or offshore oil? part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
An introductory environmental science project tasking students with comparing offshore oil and wind power development.

Action to Enhance Sustainability part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This assignment is a 10-hour, out-of-class project where each student designs and carries out an action plan to enhance sustainability. Students select from a large suite of alternative actions, most of which can be quantified for reductions in CO2 and energy consumption, as well as in dollar savings.

Exploring sustainability through water cycle connections part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
During this module students use multiple experiences (reading, video, the outdoors, a survey of their water footprints, writing, and lots of discussion) to examine how life today, in comparison to pre-industrial times, makes our connections to water virtually invisible. Students use the class's water footprint results to find out how agricultural and industrial water uses link us to people distant in both place and time. They weigh the consequences of these invisible connections in creating the lost sense of dependence and responsibility that typifies unsustainability. Students study the variability of water footprints within our class to help identify more sustainable personal choices. They consider the activity of a local watershed association to educate and involve people in improving the quality of local streams as a model of how community action can accomplish what individuals cannot.

Determining Carbon Storage in Garcelon Bog part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
This is a three-week lab sequence aimed at determining the approximate amount of carbon stored in a local bog and teaching skills for solving complex problems through collaborative work.

Students' Evaluation of Competing Alternative Energy Options for a Sustainability Assessment part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
A group exercise in trying to understand the many attributes that contribute to an overall assessment of sustainability for alternative energy projects.

Habitat for Humanity Build Day part of Integrate:Workshops:Systems, Society, Sustainability and the Geosciences:Activities
Teaching sustainability through Habitat for Humanity.

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