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Quantitative Skills, Thinking, and Reasoning Activities


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Question of the Day: ANWR Drilling Policy
Question of the Day developed by William Prothero, University of California, Santa Barbara.
Students analyze the interplay between science and politics on the issue of drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Percentage of Copper in Ore
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Suppose that you are building a new house. It will take about 90 kg (198 pounds) of copper to do the electrical wiring. In order to get the copper in the first place, someone needs to mine solid rock that ...

GEO-Logic: Continental Drift and Plate Tectonics
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
Students are asked to match up lecturers with what day and time they teach, and how many students they have based on clues given from several different perspectives. In the second part of the activity, students are asked to learn more about the historic figures mentioned in the activity by doing reading and web research.

How Much Energy is on my Plate?
Lane Seely, Karin Kirk
This activity is part of the community collection of teaching materials on climate and energy topics. This activity was submitted by faculty as part of the CLEAN Energy Workshop, held in April, 2011. This activity ...

State Electricity on Google Earth: How many Solar Panels would it Take?
Billy Goodman, Passaic Valley High School; Todd Greene, California State University-Chico; Maureen Padden, McMaster University
This activity is part of the community collection of teaching materials on climate and energy topics. These materials were submitted by faculty as part of the CLEAN Energy Workshop, held in April, 2011 and are not ...

Reasons for the Seasons
Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University
The inquiry method and meteorological and astronomical online data can be used to elicit the inconsistencies of students' naïve ideas about the "real" reasons for the seasons. The first phase of this two-part investigation uses online meteorological data to identify factors that might explain differences of seasonal temperatures among cities These factors are used to hypothesize why differences of seasonal temperatures occur among cities. During the second phase, the variables and hypotheses that were previously identified in part one are used to design and conduct an inquiry-oriented investigation. Astronomical data is used as part of the investigation to "test" students' hypotheses conclusions are drawn then communicated.

Lab 1: Where's the Water?
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × Photo courtesy of ...

Lab 6: Drying of the American West
The lab activity described here was created by Betsy Youngman of Phoenix Country Day School and LuAnn Dahlman of TERC for the EarthLabs project. Activity Summary and Learning Objectives × The Colorado River ...

Population Growth, Ecological Footprints, and Overshoot
Rikki Wagstrom
In this activity, students develop and apply linear, exponential, and rational functions to explore past and projected U.S. population growth, carbon footprint trend, ecological overshoot, and effectiveness of hypothetical carbon dioxide reduction initiatives.

Choosing Between Home Appliances: Benefits to the Planet and Your Wallet
Corri Taylor, Wellesley College
Students research various options for new appliances and make purchasing decisions based not merely on purchase price, but also on energy efficiency, which has implications for the planet AND for longer-term personal finances. Students calculate the "payback period" for the more energy efficient appliance and calculate long-term savings.