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AP/IB/Honors Geoscience Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level geoscience 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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Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

Two streams, two stories... How Humans Alter Floods and Streams part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
An activity/lab where students determine the changes in 100-year flood determinations for 2 streams over time.

Vectors and slope stability part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
An in-class activity or homework for graphically solving slope-stability problems with vectors.

Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations. part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

Using Melting Ice to Teach Radiometric Dating part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are challenged to a Sherlock Holmes-style mystery in which they construct their own decay curves of melting ice to determine time-zero.

Density of Earth - Using Some Field Data part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This module addresses the problem of how to determine the density of the earth and has students do some field experiments to get the data they need to answer the problem.

The Floating Lithosphere - Eureka! part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
In this module, students examine Archimede's Principle in general and as it applies to Isostacy.

The Earth's Shells - Density vs. Depth part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
In this module, students are asked to devise a way of graphically plotting the density variations with depth in the Earth.

Radiometric Dating part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This activity leads students through derivations of the equations associated with radiometric dating.

GEOLogic: Volcanologists part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
students are asked to resolve how many days each of 5 volcanologists spent at a volcano and what day they started for the volcano. There is also a second part where students are asked to do some additional research about volcanoes on the web.

Flooding in the Finger Lakes Region, NY part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection

Floods over time: death vs. destruction part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This exercise looks at the dollar losses and deaths caused by flooding in the US, and at the causes of, and relationships between the two trends.

Quantitative Classroom Exercises part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
The four exercises give students an opportunity to use their knowledge of graphs, algebra, and maps to solve simple geological problems.

Gulf Anoxia Course Project part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
In this activity students work in groups to investigate the problem of Gulf of Mexico hypoxia before developing mitigation strategies based on local contriubtions to the problem. The students present their ideas in a public meeting debate format from which a solution must be selected by the entire class.

Three-Point Problem by Simultaneous Linear Equations part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are introduced to the use of linear algebra in an intuitive and accessible way, through classroom activity and homework set. The familiar three-point problem is cast in terms of three dimensional analytic geometry, fostering understanding of mathematical models for simple geometric forms.

Continental Crust Mass Balance Calculation part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
A quantitative skills-intensive exercise using data from the Mineral Mountains, Utah, to calculate mass balance and to address the "space problem" involved with emplacing plutons into the crust.

Viscosity of the Mantle: Constraints from Post-glacial Rebound part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This laboratory experiment emphasizes the exponential nature of post-glacial rebound and reinforces the relationship between the rate of rebound and the viscosity of the mantle.

Assessing the error of linear and planar field data using Fisher statistics part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Instruction on use of Fisher statistics to determine the mean and 95% confidence interval of geological vectors, lines or planes, with examples, problems and an Excel spreadsheet for computation.

Air-sea Interactions: Activities in Oceanography part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
This online set of activities help students learn properties of ocean waves, wind-wave relationships and properties of tsunamis.

The Floating Lithosphere - Isostasy part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are asked to numerically and then analytically determine the relations governing the depth of compensation.

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