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Teaching Activities


The examples in this collection were contributed by participants at the 2007 Teacher Preparation Workshop at Carleton College in Northfield, MN. The activities are used by the contributors in their earth science courses for pre-service teachers to help these future teachers understand the science they will be asked to teach to their students.



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Density, Buoyancy and Convection part of Activities
This 3-hour hands-on guided-discovery lab activity teaches students the concepts of density, buoyancy, thermal expansion and convection.

Destruction of the Rainforest and Atmospheric Oxygen part of Activities
Pre-service Midle School teachers devised an experiment to test an assertion that destruction of the Brazilian Rainforest would lead to a serious drop in atmospheric oxygen. The experiment proved to be a failure, but opened other avenues of science learning and had a positive impact on their confidence in teaching inquiry-based science.

Be the Block: Working the Geologic Block Diagram as an Inquiry Tool part of Activities
Working with data, students develop 3-D understandings of Earth structures using inference to construct a block diagram from a collection of 2-D information.

The History of the Earth: Classroom Activity part of Activities
Students use events in an older adult's life to develop a timeline, which is then related to a scaled model of major events in the earth's history and the development of the geologic timescale.

Exploring the Solar System, the Galaxies, and the Universe with the Hubble Space Telescope part of Activities
The Hubble Telescope site (http://hubblesite.org) contains numerous teaching tools including videos, news articles about the solar system and the Universe, and games that introduce and reinforce astronomy and space science content and concepts. Teachers can design activities for multiple grade levels using the site as a foundation.

Ordeal by Check: An introductory activity about the Nature of Science part of Activities
This is an introductory activity about the Nature of Science (NOS) that can be used on the first day of a laboratory class. It is designed to show students how scientific knowledge develops and is general enough to use in any science course.

Accessible Solar System on a String part of Activities
Explore the solar system using your senses.

Earth Observations: Pattern Recognition of the Earth System part of Activities
Earth Observation is an activity where students observe and patterns in datasets of the different Earth spheres. Correlations between datasets are examined to stimulate student thinking of the interrelations in the Earth system. This activity is connect to process and concepts covered later in the class.

Movie Clip Lesson Plan part of Activities
The students are asked to develop a lesson plan about an earth science concept that they have seen in a Hollywood film. They must find the short movie clip, come up with a way to show the students why this is wrong either by using a demo or a lab activity. Examples of appropriate movies are Dante<92>s Peak, Twister, The Core, and Asteroid.

Active Learning and Lasting Impacts: Reflective Writing in a Field-Based Geobotany Course for Teachers part of Activities
In this upper-division, week-long, residential field geobotany course for K-12 in-service and pre-service teachers, participants make observations and interpretations in both the field and lab every day. At the end of each day, participants write about their experiences, self-confidence, and perceived competence as an amateur scientist during a reflective writing exercise, for which instructors provide feedback each evening.

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