Environmental Science, Geology and Geography
Upper Iowa University
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Forensic Paleontology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students examine and sketch a dead animal, discovering as much as possible about it.
Reflectance Spectra part of Cutting Edge:GIS and Remote Sensing:Activities2
Katherine McCarville, Upper Iowa University Summary Students use the ALTA reflectance spectrometer to understand concepts in active vs. passive remote sensing, reflectance, and the creation and relevance of ...
Mapping Glacial Erratics with GPS and GIS part of Cutting Edge:GIS and Remote Sensing:Activities2
Katherine McCarville, Upper Iowa University Summary Students create a map of glacial erratics (in Northeast Iowa, although you could do this wherever you have glacial deposits). The activity uses local geology, ...
Walkable/Bikeable Community Maps part of Cutting Edge:GIS and Remote Sensing:Activities2
Katherine McCarville, Upper Iowa University Summary Create maps of walkable-bikeable routes in your local community. Identify routes by their characteristics for pedestrians and bike riders. Locate areas where ...
The Natural Selection Game part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This game simulates the effect of natural selection on two populations - a predator species and a prey species. The game was developed by Robert P. Gendron, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and I have modified it for use in a dinosaurs course. One major strength of this activity is that it engages kinetic learners.
Forestry Management Plan Revision part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
The importance of soils is often underestimated in establishing management or restoration plans. Students examine soils at Echo Valley Park in the field, and use information from the USDA NRCS soil series descriptions in this activity. They review a forestry management plan for the park, revise the soils portion of the plan document, and then revise the recommendations to take the soil conditions into account.
Soil Biota part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Activities
In teams of two, students collect samples from one or two different environments – agricultural fields, sports turf areas, lawns, forest floor, wetland/pond margin, greenhouse, etc. They construct a Berlese funnel apparatus, process their two samples, identify and photograph (under a microscope) the organisms they isolate. The class aggregates their data from all the different environments, calculates a Simpson's diversity index for each environment, and uses this value to compare the diversity of the different environments.
Marine Biotic Responses to Miocene Climate Change part of Chronos Workshop:Activities
This activity is part of a collection under development by participants in a June 2006 workshop. Tested versions will be available in Spring 2007. During the Miocene the Earth plunged into its present "icehouse" state, with glaciers at North and South Poles. In this activity, students investigate biotic responses to this climate change using microfossil data from the Deep Sea Drilling Project (DSDP) and Ocean Drilling Program (ODP). These data are analyzed and displayed using the CHRONOS information technology system, building information technology skills while strengthening understanding of biostratigraphic principles. The activity integrates geochemical and biotic data, reinforcing the notion that understanding Earth History requires a multidisciplinary approach. Students use Time Scale Creator to examine how sediments are correlated and dated. DSDP and ODP core data in the Neptune database is used to create age-distribution histograms for foraminifers and calcareous nannofossils, and compare these data to the record of climate change based on oxygen isotope analyses. Students synthesize and compare their discoveries regarding marine microfossil responses to global climate change, and evaluate the assumptions and biases inherent in these results. Step-by-step instructions for using the CHRONOS interface are provided, formatted as a student handout. References to related primary literature are included, and may be used to adapt the exercise for more advanced undergraduates or graduate students.
ES326 Soil Genesis, Classification and Morphology part of Cutting Edge:Hydrogeology:Hydrogeology, Soils, Geochemistry 2013:Courses
The course is a field-oriented exploration of soils, including classification based on the USDA Soil Taxonomy system.
Dinosaurs part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Courses
Dinosaur paleontology incorporates concepts from geology and biology and integrates aspects of chemistry, physics and mathematics to explain and understand these magnificent animals, the environments in which they lived, and the processes that have shaped our dynamic Earth. Students learn how to apply the scientific method in learning about dinosaurs from their fossil remains.
Terrestrial Biotic Responses to Miocene Climate Change part of Chronos Workshop:Activities
This activity is part of a collection under development by participants in a June 2006 workshop. Tested versions will be available in Spring 2007. This activity leads students to explore patterns in the occurrence of some fossil mammals through the Miocene Epoch. Students use the CHRONOS interface to analyze data from the MIOmap database. The exercise is designed to follow the Marine Biotic Responses to Miocene Climate Change, but can also be used as a stand-alone activity.