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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Atmospheric Vertical Structure and the First Law of Thermodynamics
Anthony Hansen, Saint Cloud State University
This set of homework problems is intended to help students begin to discover the importance and utility of conservation principles derived from the First Law of Thermodynamics and provide a first step in evolving from the p-V diagrams the students have seen in their physics coursework toward the thermodynamic diagrams used in meteorology.

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Using a Mass Balance Model to Understand Carbon Dioxide and its Connection to Global Warming
Bob Mackay, Clark College
Students explore the increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide over the past 40 years with an interactive on-line model.

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Kohler Curves
Swarndeep Gill, California University of Pennsylvania
An assignment teaching students about Kohler curves that enhances their quantitative skills.

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Mid-level spreadsheeting and complex modeling of real-world scarp evolution
William Locke, Montana State University-Bozeman
This exercise is a second or familiarization exercise in spreadsheeting, but is also a mathematical model for slope evolution. It uses the concept of "erosivity" (generally, the relative ratio of driving and resisting forces) and slope angle to reshape an initial topography. Finally, it asks the students themselves to come up with a real-world situation worth modeling.

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An Assessment of Hillslope Stability Using the Factor of Safety
Laura Moore, Oberlin College
In this homework assignment students are asked to consider the balance of forces on a hill slope using the Factor of Safety.

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From Ocean Topography to Flexural Rigidity
Andrew Newman, Georgia Institute of Technology-Main Campus
Students will use the available bathymetric datasets to test the utility of a flexural rigidity model of oceanic crust.

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Measuring Dinosaur Speed from Trackways
Bret Bennington, Hofstra University
This activity demonstrates how measurements taken from fossil trackways can be used to estimate the speed at which extinct animals were moving when they made the trackways, providing students the opportunity to ...

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Quantifying Groundwater Baseflow and Improving Math Skills through a Stream-Discharge Exercise
James Reichard, Georgia Southern University
A two-part exercise is presented where students quantify stream discharge and use the data to determine groundwater baseflow. They first use tedious hand calculations to compute discharge; then develop their own ...

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Igneous Rock Compositions and Plate Tectonics
Allen Glazner, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
In this exercise, students use whole-rock major- and trace-element compositions of igneous rocks from a variety of tectonic settings and locations to explore the importance of plate setting in determining magma ...

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Global Phosphorus Cycle
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College
Students create and modify a STELLA model of the global phosphorus cycle to test a number of scenarios.

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