Physics & Astronomy
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Time Scales of Climate Change part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
This activity introduces students to the fact that climate change occurs at timescales of 1 year to 108 years and there are various drivers to explain these changes. It addresses how scientists detect these scales of climate change on the geologic record. Students, using what they learn, are also asked to evaluate the potential drivers of climate change since the Industrial Revolution.
Teaching radioactive decay & radiometric dating: an analog activity based on fluid dynamics part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
Radiometric dating/geochronology is a difficult concept for students. Using the (rather messy) medium of shampoo, students watch it flow through holes of different sizes, determine the exponential decay equation, then use this information to "date" the shampoo. This is an activity that is designed to help students understand exponential decay and primarily designed as a laboratory exercise, it could be modified to be a whole-class demonstration. Developed by Lily Claiborne and Calvin Miller
The Cosmic Calendar part of Cutting Edge:Rates and Time:Teaching Activities
In this activity, one takes ALL of time, from the beginning of time (i.e., the Big Bang) all the way up to today, but one compresses it into one year. One can do this for all levels of students depending on how much work you want them to do in figuring out which events to include, exactly when they should take place on the Cosmic Calendar, how you want them to display it... This activity was adapted by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific from a wonderful exercise popularized by Dr. Carl Sagan, astronomy publicizer extraordinaire. One can easily modify this to just include time from Earth's formation until now.
Teaching about Time part of Workshop 2012:Essays
Erika Grundstrom, Physics & Astronomy Department, Vanderbilt University and Physics Department, Fisk University Since I began teaching about astronomy as an undergrad, I've felt that understanding long ...