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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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The Modern Atmospheric CO2 Record
Bob Mackay, Clark College
Students compare carbon dioxide (CO2) data from Mauna Loa Observatory, Barrow (Alaska), and the South Pole over the past 40 years to help them better understand what controls atmospheric CO2. -

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
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.

How Many Is A Million?
Roger Steinberg, Del Mar College
Roger Steinberg, Department of Natural Sciences, Del Mar College Description To help students visualize the immensity of geologic time, or even the immensity of just one million years, I have created a very large ...

Accessing Streamflow Data via the Worldwide Web
John Pitlick, University of Colorado at Boulder
The objectives of this exercise are to (a) use the worldwide web to access hydrologic data, and (b) compare precipitation/runoff characteristics in different regions of the USA.

Confirmation of the IPCC Prediction re: Increased Storminess
Robert Kuhlman, Montgomery County Community College
A two-part culminating activity for a meteorology/climatology unit in an Earth Science course centered upon data acquisition and analysis regarding the confirmation of the IPCC predicition regarding increased ...

Exercise 8: Using LiDAR and GPS data to model the water table in ArcScene
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Barbara and David Tewksbury, Hamilton College Tutorial for using the new LiDAR tools (LAS dataset and LAS toolbar) in ArcGIS 10.1 (Acrobat (PDF) 13.8MB Nov6 13). Same LiDAR Tutorial as a Word doc (Microsoft Word ...

Is There a Trend in Hurricane Number or Intensity?
Todd Ellis, SUNY College at Oneonta
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 ...

Cascadia Great Earthquake and Tsunami Suite
Michael Mayhew, National Science Foundation;
Michael Mayhew and Michelle Hall, Science Education Solutions Summary The Cascadia Earthquakes and Tsunami Suite contains five case studies organized around understanding the potential for large earthquakes and ...

Northridge: A Case Study of an Urban Earthquake
Michael Mayhew, National Science Foundation;
Michael Mayhew and Michelle Hall, Science Education Solutions Summary The 1994 Northridge Earthquake Case Study explores the mystery of how such a major fault could have been missed within a tectonic basin that is ...



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