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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Northwest Passage
Glenn Richard, SUNY at Stony Brook
An investigation of changes in polar regions using Google Earth.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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CLEAN Selected This activity has been selected for inclusion in the CLEAN collection.
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Roping Geologic Time
Randall Richardson, The University of Arizona
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Air-sea Interactions: Activities in Oceanography
Steve LaDochy, California State University, Los Angeles
This online set of activities help students learn properties of ocean waves, wind-wave relationships and properties of tsunamis.

Three-Point Problem by Simultaneous Linear Equations
William Frangos, James Madison University
Students are introduced to the use of linear algebra in an intuitive and accessible way, through classroom activity and homework set. The familiar three-point problem is cast in terms of three dimensional analytic geometry, fostering understanding of mathematical models for simple geometric forms.

Continental Crust Mass Balance Calculation
Jennifer Wenner, University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh
A quantitative skills-intensive exercise using data from the Mineral Mountains, Utah, to calculate mass balance and to address the "space problem" involved with emplacing plutons into the crust.

Viscosity of the Mantle: Constraints from Post-glacial Rebound
David Kohlstedt, University of Minnesota
This laboratory experiment emphasizes the exponential nature of post-glacial rebound and reinforces the relationship between the rate of rebound and the viscosity of the mantle.

Assessing the error of linear and planar field data using Fisher statistics
Vince Cronin, Baylor University
Instruction on use of Fisher statistics to determine the mean and 95% confidence interval of geological vectors, lines or planes, with examples, problems and an Excel spreadsheet for computation.

The Floating Lithosphere - Isostasy
Len Vacher, Dept of Geology, University of South Florida
Students are asked to numerically and then analytically determine the relations governing the depth of compensation.

Interpreting recent carbon dioxide data
Elizabeth Gordon, Fitchburg State University
This activity engages students in viewing and downloading web-accessed data sets to examine latitudinal trends in CO2 over (recent) time and to interpret a time series of CO2 data from a selected location.

Climate as Constraint
Suzanne Pierce, University of Texas at Austin, The
This classroom assignment and discussion guide presents the relationship between groundwater availability, use, and climate conditions. Students are asked to consider the possible implications of regional climate ...


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