Quantitative Skills > Teaching Resources > Activities > Density of the Earth - How to Solve It

# Density of the Earth - How to Solve It

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

• Scientific Accuracy
• Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
• Pedagogic Effectiveness
• Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
• Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

#### Summary

This module addresses the problem of determining the density of the Earth and invites the student to figure out how to solve the problem. The module utilizes the four-step process developed by George Polya in his book How to Solve It in 1957: 1) Understanding the problem, 2) Devising a plan, 3) Carrying out the plan, and 4) Looking back. This module is the first in a series of six that examine the density of planets and rocks.

## Learning Goals

• Instruct students in the four steps of Polya's problems solving strategy.
• Use Polya's four steps to solve the question of what the density of the Earth is.

## Context for Use

This module was designed to be used in an undergraduate mathematical geology class where students are asked to look at geological questions mathematically and may spend more time on the math than on the geology.

## Teaching Notes and Tips

These modules were developed as essentially self-paced, take-home lab assignments. Students are supposed to work through the modules, slide by slide, building their own worksheets as they go along, taking note of instructions and prompts, hints, and queries.

## Teaching Materials

This module is one of several developed by Dr. Vacher. The module presentation can be found at http://www.evergreen.edu/washcenter/modules/home.asp

The Powerpoint file is considered to be the student version. There is also an instructor's version that has active spreadsheets in it. There are instructions for requesting this version on the website.

## Assessment

The easiest way to test student work on this module is to ask students to hand in a copy of their worksheets starting with a different set of input data. The module also ends with homework assignment questions.

## Controlled Vocabulary Terms

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Mineralogy:Physical Properties, Mathematics, Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics
Resource Type: Activities:Lab Activity
Special Interest: Quantitative
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
Quantitative Skills: Graphs, Problem Solving, Scientific Notation, Units and Unit Conversions, Geometry and Trigonometry