Rebecca Teed

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Earth and Environmental Sciences
Wright State University-Main Campus

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activities (40)

The Sleeping Mountain part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this role-playing scenario, students represent townspeople whose lives and livelihoods are endangered by an active volcano that may or may not erupt in the near future. They must debate whether to invest in or to abandon their town. The site outlines the roles and includes a description of the original, real volcano that inspired the scenario, Mammoth Mountain in California, with a list of links. Before the debate, the students must research monitoring volcano activity and write a paper about it.

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M & M Decay part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This is a simulation of radioactive decay which illustrates what a half-life is and explains some of the challenges involved with radiometric dating. Pennies or other cheap coins can be substituted for M&Ms if needed.

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Runaway Greenhouse Effect Exercise part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
"Why is Venus so much hotter than the Earth? You are a group of experts gathered from around the world to solve this long-standing mystery..." This is a collaborative problem-solving exercise about the greenhouse effect on Venus. Students role-play biologists, coal geologists, space warfare experts, astronomers, pollution-control scientists, and hydrophysicists. Each student gets a copy of the appropriate briefing sheet (there are 6) containing some information important to solving the problem, much of it quantitative.

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What Should We Do About Global Warming? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This 3-4 week science module is designed for introductory college courses and uses data to tackle questions related to global warming. The module includes short and long term temperature trend data, along with IR spectra, concentration trend data for greenhouse gases, and information about the Kyoto Protocol. Many of the data are in graphs that are part of Quicktime movies.

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Mock Environmental Summit part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
At the end of a six-week class or unit on global warming, students role-play representatives from various countries and organizations at an international summit on the Santa Barbara protocol, dealing with global warming. The students prepare by studying the IPCC report on Global Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and other information on human impacts on the environment. The course involves several writing assignments, presentations, and lab activities that help the students research their arguments.

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How Fast Do Materials Weather? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
In each activity described below, instructors giving a lecture on weathering ask students to calculate weathering rates from tombstone weathering data. Atmospheric (and precipitation) chemistry determines the rate of weathering for marble tombstones. Show the students data from a rural and an urban cemetery, ask them to estimate rates, and then have them speculate as to why the rates are so different.

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Carbon Dioxide Exercise part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. Stacked together, the overheads for the whole class show an increase on carbon dioxide over five years and annual variation driven by photosynthesis.

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Building-Stone Geology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Field Labs:Field Lab Examples
In order to study igneous and metamorphic rocks in central Florida (a huge area consisting solely of sedimentary rock), geology students examined building stones in downtown St. Petersburg. Each student picked a particular rock type used in a particular way (structure, decorative facade, etc.), performed geologic tests on it, read up on its properties, history, and uses, and prepared a paper on it. Part of the way through the project, the entire class held a walking tour, during which each students' building (and its stones) were visited, and the student studying that type of stone told the class what they had found out about it.

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Personal Timeline part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
Students start this worksheet by listing the most important events in their own lives, plotting them on a timeline, and then doing the same with Earth history events. Usually, their personal timelines will resemble the Earth history, with most events clustered close to the present, and they need to explain why this clustering occurs.

Problem-Based Learning: UV Menace part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Cooperative Learning:Examples
A problem statement is a student-centered challenge requiring cooperative effort. For this project, the student group needs to assess the causes, effects, and possible solutions to ozone depletion. The student team: Brainstorms about their pre-existing knowledge and assembles a summary of what they (collectively) already know (some of it may be outdated or incorrect) and where they learned that knowledge. Works out what they need to know to go further (this may include checking pre-existing knowledge) Divides the knowledge needed to move on into discrete questions or areas of expertise (such as hydrosphere, biosphere, lithosphere, and atmosphere) and assign different pieces to different team members. Individual team members head for the library and search the Internet for information about their aspect of the problem. They need to be in contact with their teammates in case they find something relevant to another part of the problem. Once research is done (or time runs out), the individuals write up their chapters and gather with their team to edit them for correctness and consistency and to write a collective introduction and conclusion. The instructor should make sure all of the students have a decent background in basic atmospheric chemistry and the effects of ultraviolet radiation. A lecture may be necessary. Students may also need help with chasing down sources and keeping their groups on track.

Wheel of... Geology! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
Few classes are as well-attended or as dreary as exam reviews. In order to liven things up, divide your review questions (multiple-choice format) into categories and assemble the students into teams. Give the student teams names and allow them to study together before the review. During the game, the instructor spins the wheel with the categories written on it and reads a question from that category, and within 60 seconds, all of the students must give an answer, using classroom communication systems, many of which can be programmed for teams. The score for each team is the proportion of correct answers. The game can be as long or as short as desired and can be preceded, interspersed with or followed by questions from students. Geology Jeopardy is probably a more appropriate format for topic distribution, and less work than wheel-building, but seems less dramatic.

Rock/Mineral Scavenger Hunt part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
After some lab work teaching students to identify rocks and minerals from specimens, divide them into teams, and take them to a field site where you know what they are likely to find. Give them a time limit and list of rocks and/or minerals to find, ideally one they cannot complete within the time limit if you want competition between teams. Remind the students to use teamwork: have some students searching for items, and others using books to confirm identifications. Keep an eye on the students and discourage any unsafe behavior or scavenging off of other teams (threaten to dock points if need be).

Describe and Interpret Images: Folded Strata part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Have students describe and interpret images rather than doing the description and interpretation for them. In class, have students make a simple sketch of an outcrop shown in a slide (or computer projection) then discuss possible interpretations. For example, show them a picture of the Dent de Morcles, with its convoluted strata, ask them to do a rough drawing and to summarize the probable history of the rock exposed in that mountainside.

Transnational Pollution: Why Are You Dumping on Me? part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
The purpose of this lesson is to familiarize students with the different types of transnational pollution, and to give them an opportunity to role-play in a hypothetical case of transnational pollution involving the Danube River. The flow of pollutants across national boundaries has confirmed that pollution does not recognize geographical boundaries. Clearly, environmental degradation in one country can spread to another, reconfirming that now more than ever, the health of the global environment is the responsibility of all nations, whether vast or small, rich or poor. The major goal of this activity is to make students cognizant that an incident in one nation may well have serious environmental consequences for other nations. Additionally, it will also give students an opportunity to play complex roles that are meaningful and consequential to global concerns. The lesson plan and accompanying handout are highly detailed with a clearly described scenario and characters and detailed activities and questions for the students.

Changing With the Tide part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This lesson plan is written around a brief role-play in which students learn about and act out the behavior of plants and animals in a salt marsh habitat as the tides change. An unusual feature of salt marshes is the dramatic daily change in stresses and interactions that the organisms face.

Coral Bleaching: Making Our Oceans Whiter part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This lesson plan deals with coral reefs and the recent increase in coral bleaching. The students will be learning about the ecology of reefs, the habitats they create, the algal symbiosis that ends with bleaching, and the role of human impact. The plan also outlines a role-playing debate for the students and an in-character written assignment to come up with a compromise to protect the reefs and the economies that depend on them.

Allosaur Survival Game part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
This online computer game deals with why allosaurs hunted as they did, as well as how. The student needs to balance the need for food for energy and growth with the risk of being savaged by one's potential prey or killed outright by another allosaur. The "Big Al" starts out as a 0.2 kg hatchling and ends up as a hunter of sauropods and a parent to the next generation of allosaurs.

Distribution of Active Volcanoes Exercise part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This worksheet is intended to direct students working independently in a 6-week volcano exercise within an online geology course. The exercise consists of a series of questions plus helpful links and a map. The students collect and plot data, then interpret the results and answer questions about the geologic causes and the human effects of volcanic eruption. The exercise includes role-playing (individual) and a virtual field trip.

Welcome to Planet Oit! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
Planet Oit is an online computer game in which the students play interplanetary explorers as a means to teach the concepts and principles of physical geology. Planet Oit has been designed as a coherent geophysical space where geological regions (desert, mountains, plains) contain plausible phenomenon (mesa, playa, cave) which are populated with plausible objects (outcrops, boulders, veins), of plausible types. Planet Oit currently contains over 50 locations, nearly 100 rock and mineral types, 200 outcrops, veins, boulders and so forth, and over 40 instrument and tool types. The students' task is to obtain the appropriate equipment and perform tests on the samples they find before they can report their findings back to Earth. User registration is required but at no cost.

Virtual Oil Well Game part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
This online strategy game has the player as a prospector trying to find oil, working off a limited budget. The player collects and interprets seismic data to search for oil traps. They are required to file environmental impact statements before drilling and use drill logs to determine when to start pumping. The player has access to a library, with several pages on how oil is trapped and how to find the traps using seismic data.

GPS Treasure Hunt part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
This game is actually an on-campus field lab that has students using directions and a GPS receiver to make their way from one stop to the next. At each stop, they identify a building stone (or tree for an environmental studies or plant biology class). If possible, have the students work in small groups, taking turns using the GPS receiver and with each group having its own direction sheet. At the end, they collect a ticket for an edible prize.

The Grand Canyon part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This lesson plan deals with the consequences of damming in the Grand Canyon area. Students act as scientists investigating the damming of the Colorado River by the Glen Canyon dam and experimental flooding that took place in 1996. They then write a proposal as to whether or not more experimental flooding should be done on the area considering the ecological effects. This topic has great potential for an Earth Systems Science class, as the consequences of damming affect climate, ecosystems, sedimentation/erosion, and water quality.

Traditional NADS Scum Run part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
The North American Diatom Symposium takes place every two years and features and unusual academic sporting event. One description, from 1993, recounts that: "relay teams of three diatomists were required to run along the beach wearing chest waders, identifying diatoms shown in photographs along the way." The variant that I participated in in 1997 had us using actual microscopes. The instructor could have students identify photographs of thin sections, or microfossils, or answer questions or even do simple lab tests. Use different samples for each player. The important feature is the relay race format, which means all three players contribute to the effort and that the students are made to get out of their chairs and move around a little.

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 offers a curriculum to help the students become experts on global warming. It offers lab activities, computer visualizations (using free WorldWatcher software), lots of background readings, and choose-your-own-adventure journeys through the carbon and water cycles. The unit concludes with a summit on global warming at which students give their presentations. For teachers, there is a pedagogical explanation for each activity and rubrics for the presentation and for an energy balance diagram assignment.

The Living Edens: Virtual Yellowstone Tour part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) website contains a virtual tour of Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. In this tour, students act as park rangers to research geological features of Yellowstone, locate these features on maps, and describe and define associated geologic terms. The features discussed include geysers, hot springs, canyons, waterfalls and mudpots.

Ideas for Resources: Geology Lab Manual part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This site contains a partially-fleshed-out list of questions and situations dealing with water, minerals, and public policy intended to be incorporated into role-playing activities. It was intended for a lab manual to accompany a course on resource geology or environmental geology. Its message is that access to geological resources depends upon a complex interplay between economic, political, legal, environmental, and geological factors. The suggested exercises require students to gather at least some of the data needed to play their roles.

The Great Energy Debate part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This lesson plan explores the controversial issues surrounding the energy debate in the United States. Students will research recent initiatives being taken in this area and analyze their implications. They will then assume the roles of pivotal stakeholders in this debate and testify to a mock congressional committee responsible for making decisions about public lands and energy resources.

Eruption! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
Eruption! is a volcanic crisis simulation model that showcases a series of villages that surround an active volcano that is part of the Interactive Models for Geological Education Online (IMGEO) series. The goal of the exercise is to preserve as many people and as much property as possible in spite of the threat from the volcano. Students role-play as villagers, the governor, volcanologists, or the press. Guides for teaching assistants and students, and the rules of the simulation are available on the site. Three different versions are downloadable, for different hardware and classroom situations (e.g. one computer per student, one computer and multiple students, and a networked environment). The activities in each are modified slightly to reflect the level of computer access for the student.

The High Plains: Land of Extremes part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This site covers the physical features of the High Plains (or Great Plains), the grasses and plants of the area, prairie dog ecosystems, riparian areas, mining, management, water resources, and fire cycles. Student activities are based on the study of groundwater movement, energy resources, wind energy, and riparian areas. A debate allows students to understand the viewpoints of different interest groups in considering whether the black-footed ferret should be reintroduced onto public lands.

The Forecast Factory part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
The Forecast Factory is an introduction to the topic of weather forecasting. Students role-play the various elements in forecasting process such as equations, announcers, data analysts, and airplanes. By following the script, the students will summarize the entire process in a single period. This lesson plan is well suited to large classes in lecture-hall settings. A discussion and summary of this teaching method are provided, as well as extensions to other topics, such as global climate modeling.

Collaborative Decision Making: NASA's Deep Impact Mission part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This is a highly-developed unit plan involving collaborative problem solving using data. The subject is the launch of a probe to investigate the composition of a comet. The students will engage in quantitative risk analysis, role-playing, persuasive writing and speaking, and group decision-making procedures. The students will study the objectives and the risks of the project and make decisions about how to deal with them from the perspectives of NASA scientists, engineers, and members of the public involved with the project.

Jurassic Park Debate part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This role-playing exercise casts students as scientific specialists, assigned to a group either supporting or opposing the cloning of dinosaurs. There are 4-6 specialists (or groups of specialists): geneticists, ecologists, etc., on each side. Each side researches for a couple of weeks and presents its argument in class (usually a single class period for each side), and other students can ask the specialists questions. Each student also turns in two pages summarizing his/her arguments as a specialist the day of the presentation. The material provided by the professor for research includes information about cloning technology and about dinosaurs.

Ocean Stratigraphy Challenge part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
This is a complex puzzle beginning with a description of a stratigraphic section from a deep-sea core. The students are asked to explain the sequence of rock and sediment types and to devise an experiment to test this hypothesis. It is intended for students with some prior knowledge of oceanography, sedimentary geology, and plate tectonics and requires them to synthesize all of this knowledge to answer the question.

Science in the Courtroom: The Woburn Toxic Trial part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
In this exercise, hydrology students role-play expert witnesses in a mock trial dealing with contamination of groundwater. Student prepare for the role-play by studying the movement of groundwater and the transport of contaminants through computational and map exercises and field trips. For the role-play, the hydrology students work with law students. The hydrologists divide up and serve as expert witnesses for the plaintiffs and the defendants; the law students are the attorneys. This exercise teaches hydrology students the value of integrating computational and communications skills in order to present and defend their understanding of a situation.

Annotating Change in Satellite Images part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Teaching with Data:Examples
During this exercise, students compare a series of satellite images taken 3-4 years apart to investigate the effects of human land use. They will annotate the images using ImageJ software and use the annotated images to explain their findings. The LANDSAT images provided show an area near Hong Kong where land is being reclaimed from the sea by dredging. The students can use ImageJ to compare images from 1988, 1992, and 1995 and to mark areas of land that have been reclaimed between 1988 and 1992 and those that were reclaimed between 1992 and 1995. They will then add a legend to the map, which can then be used as part of report on land reclamation and its effect on the Earth system. Annotating Change in Satellite Images is part of the Earth Exploration Toolbook, a collection of detailed exercises which involve using data to teach about Earth systems.

Starting Out With Earth History part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
Distribute a blank geologic-history timeline to pairs or small groups of students at the start of an Earth History unit or course and ask them work on it together. Ask them to make their best guess as to when 6-10 major Earth history events occurred and put those one the timeline. You can give them a list of events, such as the death of the dinosaurs, the invention of writing, the formation of the Earth, the origin of life, and the breakup of Pangea, or have them come up with their own. Let the students brainstorm for 10-15 minutes, then turn in the project. Rather than handing or showing them a correct/complete timeline, put up another blank geologic time line using the board, an overhead, or projected computer image and spend another 10-15 minutes having the class fill it in together. Then, through questions, bring up important points such as how certain events are dated, where humanity fits in, and so forth.

Order It Up! part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures:Examples
A think-pair-share activity which involves putting solar system bodies in order based on various statistics: escape velocity, distance from the sun, mass, etc. -

The Use of a Piece of Land part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This activity is designed to engage students in a practical exercise in land use planning; to make the students aware of the positive and negative aspects of land use laws and local zoning ordinances through role-playing. The students represent groups interested in purchasing the same piece of land. Each group must research to devise a plan that is legal and attractive and present proposals to convince the current owners to sell the land to their group. The instructor is advised to use a real plot of land so that real land use laws can be researched.

Cloud Observation part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Field Labs:Field Lab Examples
In this short, serial basic-meteorology lab, students identify different cloud types and estimate cover over a period of several days.

Yellowstone Fires part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
Emphasizing an integrated approach to environmental earth science through problem-based learning, the module asks students to assume the role of environmental biologist, and help several government agencies resolve the debate surrounding "let it burn" policies in national parks. The government agencies would like to know whether or not to allow naturally occurring fires in Yellowstone National Park to burn to their natural conclusion. The agencies are particularly interested in student recommendations based on an Earth System Science (ESS) analysis of a fire's impact on the air, land, water, and living things. Many of the pages within the site provide hyperlinked background resources to investigate wildland fire issues in more detail. A glossary, references, related links, and a general description of the problem-based learning model compliment the site.

Course

Mock Environmental Summit part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
At the end of a six-week class or unit on global warming, students role-play representatives from various countries and organizations at an international summit on the Santa Barbara protocol, dealing with global warming. The students prepare by studying the IPCC report on Global Climate Change, the Kyoto Protocol, and other information on human impacts on the environment. The course involves several writing assignments, presentations, and lab activities that help the students research their arguments.

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Teaching Method Modules (4)

Role-Playing Exercises part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing
Created by Rebecca Teed, SERC, Carleton College "Walk a mile in my shoes" is good advice. Our children will learn to respect others if they are used to imagining themselves in another's place. - ...

Interactive Lectures part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Interactive Lectures
Created by Heather Macdonald College of William and Mary and Rebecca Teed, SERC and updated by Gail Hoyt, University of Kentucky, Jennifer Imazeki, San Diego State University, Barbara Millis University of Texas, ...

Using an Earth History Approach part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Earth History Approach
Created by Rebecca Teed, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College Statement of Purpose This module is intended to: Help instructors who are developing or modifying courses or units on Earth ...

Game-Based Learning part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games
Game-Based Learning uses competitive exercises, either pitting the students against each other or getting them to challenge themselves in order to motivate them to learn better.

Other Contribution

Debate Central part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing
This site hosts collections of articles, organized by topic and subtopic, dealing with controversial policy issues. The topic for 2003-2004 is ocean policy. There is also an e-mail address through which questions can be addressed to a panel of experts on the topic for the year. There is also a search engine for all web sites dealing with that topic. There are online discussion boards for the last several years' worth of topics. Addtionallly, there is a library of audio and video clips of debates. For educational role-playing, especially in environmental fields, it can be hard to include viewpoints that are important to the real-world issues that are being simulated in the classroom. Debate Central collects news articles, opinion pieces, and websites in order to give instructors as balanced a list as possible. The lists are actually dominated by poular scientific literature, as this material is very prominent on the Internet. Debate Central also includes sample affirmative and negative arguments for all topics, which reflect Libertarian or Republican viewpoints, emphasizing property rights. Older topics (i.e. 1997-1998: renewable energy) do not necessarily have the rich, varied list of annotated links that make the ocean-policy part of the site so helpful. In their own words "The National Center of Policy Analysis (NCPA) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan public policy research organization, established in 1983. The NCPA's goal is to develop and promote private alternatives to government regulation and control, solving problems by relying on the strength of the competitive, entrepreneurial private sector. Topics include reforms in health care, taxes, Social Security, welfare, criminal justice, education and environmental regulation."


Events and Communities

Early Career 2006 Participants

Early Earth 2007 Participants

Temporal Learning Journal Club

Teaching About Time Workshop 2012