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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Watershed Analysis of Stream Morphology
Holly Dolliver, University of Wisconsin-River Falls
This activty provides students with an opportunity to qualitatively and quantitatively analyze stream morphology of a watershed.

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Where is that chunk of crust going?
Vince Cronin, Baylor University
I introduce students to GPS, frames of reference, and the permanent GPS stations in the EarthScope Plate Boundary Observatory (PBO) in class, and obtain near-real-time data for two stations from UNAVCO. We use ...

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What is a paleontological species?
Deborah Anderson, Saint Norbert College
In this specimen-based activity, students study ischyromyid rodent molar cusp morphology and develop their understanding of the morphological species concept as applied in paleontology.

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Working with USGS discharge data
Nick Bader, Whitman College
In this exercise, we use the USGS real-time data available online, and use it to construct a rating curve for the Walla Walla river near Touchet. We then make a simple model of flood inundation in ArcGIS for the ...

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Watershed area and discharge relationships
Steven Petsch, University of Massachusetts-Amherst
Students use USGS WaterData website to find data on area, average annual discharge and response to high-precip events in small watersheds in southern New England. Data for the class are compiled to generate graphs ...

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Using Google Earth to measure seacliff erosion rates
Alfred Hochstaedter, Monterey Peninsula College
This lab uses Google Earth to measure the rate of seacliff retreat. It touches upon coastal processes, natural hazards, and coastal management issues. The central focus of the lab is in the Monterey Bay area.

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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.

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My Special Place
Sadredin Moosavi, Rochester Community Technical College
Students pick a place of significance to them (their Special Place) for analysis in this semester-long project. (A model is provided by the instructor using a place the students are not likely to have visited.)

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How Does Surface Deformation at an Active Volcano Relate to Pressure and Volume Change in the Magma Chamber?
Module by Peter LaFemina, Penn State, State College, PA. This cover page by Ali Furmall, University of South Florida, now at University of Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to examine and apply the Mogi model for horizontal and vertical surface displacement vs. depth and pressure conditions in the magma chamber.

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Bubbles in Magmas
Module by Chuck Connor, University of South Florida, Tampa. This cover page by Ali Furmall, USF, now at U. Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet and apply the ideal gas law to model the velocity of a bubble rising in a viscous magma.

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