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Teaching Activities

These teaching activities have been designed with the aim of helping develop students' quantitative skills, literacy, or reasoning. To search by a specific discipline, use the 'Refine the Results' links on the right.


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Investigating Earthquakes: GIS Mapping and Analysis (College Level)
Brian Welch, Saint Olaf College
This is a college-level adaptation of a chapter from the Earth Exploration Toolbook. The students download global quake data over a time range and use GIS to interpret the tectonic context. -

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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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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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Using Excel for Aquifer Test
Yongli Gao
Entry level undergraduate students who use commercial software packages for aquifer test often feel frustrated and distant from real field test. This session introduces a method of aquifer test using Excel ...

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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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Is There a Trend in Hurricane Number or Intensity?
Todd Ellis, Western Michigan University
This lab guides students through an examination of the hurricane record to determine if there is a trend in hurricane intensity over the past 40 years and introduces some issues related to statistics and ...

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Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, National Science Foundation
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

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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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Seasonal variation in light, mixing depth and primary productivity in temperate northern hemisphere waters
Lauren Sahl, Maine Maritime Academy
In this exercise students work with light, temperature, and phytoplankton biomass proxy (chlorophyll a concentration) data to; Become more skilled in reading and interpreting semi log graphs, temperature profiles, ...

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A basic trilobite morphometric exercise
John Taylor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

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