Geology and Oceanography
Green River Community College
B.A. (Earth and Planetary Sciences) Washington University in St. Louis
M.S. (Geology) University of Washington, Seattle
Ph.D. (Geosciences) Princeton University
I teach geology, oceanography, and paleontology classes at Green River Community Colleges in Auburn, WA. Examples of my syllabi and class exercises are on line at: http://www.instruction.greenriver.edu/khoppe/
In addition to teaching, I have also worked as a paleontologists. My research interest focus on using isotopic analyses of fossils to reconstruct paleoecological and paleoclimatic conditions (http://www.researchgate.net/profile/Kathryn_Hoppe)
I have also worked as a professional science writer, and I have published three books about dinosaurs and other fossil animals under the Pen name of Charlotte Lewis Brown (http://www.harpercollins.com/cr-100068/charlotte-lewis-brown)
Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects
Poster Presentation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are required to do independent research on a topic of their choosing. They are then required to construct a poster that explains the main points of their topic using a combination of words and graphics. This presentation format is less stressful for many students than given a traditional talk and it allows the rest of the class to more easily interact and ask question of the presenter.
Devonian Transformation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students use the web to examine the biologic, geologic, atmospheric, and climatologically changes that occur with the evolution of land plants. This write up is a summary of web-based readings which the students need to complete before an in-class discssion.
Introduction to Science - Penny Histograms part of Cutting Edge:Undergraduate Research:2014 Workshop:Activities
Overview: This exercise serves as an introduction to histograms. Students are given a short introduction to histograms in lecture and reading. They are then broken up into different groups of 3-5 students. Students start by making a prediction about the distribution of the weights of the pennies they have been given. Each group then weighs their pennies and: 1) enter their data into a spreadsheet of results for the entire class and 2) each student must draw a histogram of their own results. Each group must then interpret their graphs and each student must explain in writing how their graphs either confirms or disproves their initial predictions. While students are working, the instructor creates a histogram of the data from the entire class. After students have completed the written part of the assignment, each group gives a short summary of their predictions, their results, and their conclusions. Results: The students find that 2 sets of pennies have overlapping weights (mean = 2.5 g, stdev = 0.2 g), while the third set is slightly different (mean 3.1 g, stdev = 0.2 g). The instructor can then lead a discussion around the topic of variability and how to statistically evaluate whether or not different data sets are statistically similar. This discussion should include how to account for instrumental error. This leads into a discussion of the meaning of mean values and standard deviation. This discussion can also include a comparison of how the results from an individual group compares with the data set from the whole class: this serves as a good place to discuss how scientists determine how much data to collect for a given project. This and similar exercises are thus needed before students start to interpret their own data. Expected Outcomes: Students will gain an understanding of how to read a histogram and how to evaluate the meaning of mean values and standard deviations.
The Carbon Cycle & Global Climate Change part of Cutting Edge:Oceanography:Activities
This is two-hour lab exercise based on computer data sets. Students examine records of CO2 levels in the atmosphere as well as annual temperature records for the US and the world.
Evolution of the Earth part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Courses
Goals of class: To discuss the past history of Earth and its inhabitants. It examines how the geologic record can be used to reconstruct how we got where we are today, and how it can help us predict the future.