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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.

Relative Dating of Geologic Materials part of Activities
This lessons allows students to constuct the basic principals used to understand relative geologic time and the skills used to construct the geologic time scale.

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.

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.

Water Quality Testing in your Local Water Cycle part of Activities
Students analyze local water chemistry by identifying and collecting local water samples, deciding upon questions they want to answer about their local water sources, and then performing simple water quality tests on their samples.

Observations and Measurements for Understanding Isostasy part of Activities
In this cycle, students practice their observation and measuring skills as they develop a functional understanding of the concepts of density/buoyancy and how they apply to our understanding of Earth's topography.