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Classroom Activities

These classroom and lab activities use data, simulations or modeling to teach geoscience topics. Examples include the use of model output, chemical analyses, remote sensing data, interactive data tools, or large databases.

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Unit 1: GPS/GNSS Fundamentals part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
The constellations of satellites orbiting our planet enable high-precision positioning not just for consumer or survey applications but also for geoscience research such as detecting plate motions, landslide ...

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Unit 2: Kinematic GPS/GNSS Methods part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
The application of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in the earth sciences has become commonplace. GNSS data can be collected rapidly and compared in common reference frames. Real-time kinematic (RTK) GNSS ...

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Unit 2.1: Measuring Topography with Kinematic GPS/GNSS part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
Kinematic GNSS surveys can provide a rapid means of collecting widely distributed, high-precision topographic data. The advantages of this technique over optical instruments such as a total station are that it only ...

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Unit 2.2: Change Detection with Kinematic GPS/GNSS part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
Though it may be difficult to perceive, landscapes are constantly changing form and position. High-precision GNSS is one of a handful of techniques capable of quantifying these changes and is a key component of ...

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Unit 3: Static GPS/GNSS Methods part of High Precision Positioning with Static and Kinematic GPS
The application of Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in the earth sciences has become commonplace. GNSS data can produce high-accuracy, high-resolution measurements in common reference frames. Static GNSS ...

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Unit 2.1: Geodetic survey of an outcrop for road cut design part of Analyzing High Resolution Topography with TLS and SfM
This unit offers an alternative application for high-resolution topographic data from an outcrop. Using engineering geology methods and data collection from TLS and/or SfM, students design safe "road ...

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Module 9: Climate Change part of Future of Food
Module 9 is dedicated to climate change and explores the role that agriculture plays in human-induced climate change and the impacts that climate change may have on agriculture. In addition, adaptation strategies ...

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Unit 5: Mitigating future disasters: developing a mass-wasting hazard map part of Surface Process Hazards
This unit serves as the summative assessment of the Surface Process Hazards module. In September 2013, the Boulder area of Colorado experienced an extreme rain event that led to mass wasting in many areas. This has ...

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Unit 3: Understanding landslide factors part of Surface Process Hazards
How do slope characteristics and magnitude of forces dictate whether or not a slope will fail? Can environmental and built characteristics change the magnitude of these forces? In this unit, students qualitatively ...

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Unit 4: Anatomy of a tragic slide: Oso Landslide case study part of Surface Process Hazards
Landslides can have profound societal consequences, such as did the slide that occurred near Oso, Washington in 2014. Forty-three people were killed and entire rural neighborhood was destroyed. In this unit, ...

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Unit 2: Reading the landscape part of Surface Process Hazards
How do geologic, hydrologic, biologic, and built-landscape features manifest themselves on maps? In this unit, students will use topographic maps, hillshade maps, and aerial imagery to learn to recognize a variety ...

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Unit 4: Daisyworld part of Modeling Earth Systems
Students explore Daisyworld, a model of a self-regulating system incorporating positive and negative feedbacks. Daisyworld is a planet on which black and white daisies are the only things growing. The model ...

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Unit 5: Growth and Decay of Ice Sheets part of Modeling Earth Systems
Large continental ice sheets, such as the Laurentide Ice Sheet from the last glaciation, as well as Antarctica and Greenland of today, are some of the most important features of the global climate system — they ...

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Unit 6: Hydrologic Balance and Climate Change part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create a STELLA model of the Owens River chain of lakes in eastern California and then experiment with different climate change scenarios to simulate the Pleistocene history of lake filling ...

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Unit 7: Heat Flow in Permafrost part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create a STELLA model of heat flow in the top 1 km of Earth's crust to explore the use of Arctic borehole temperature profiles as recorders of anthropogenic warming. The exercise draws ...

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Unit 8: Thermohaline Circulation part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this module, students first review some background material on density-driven deep currents in the oceans, and then create a STELLA model of the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean. The model ...

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Unit 1: Introduction to Modeling Dynamic Systems part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit we introduce students to the reasons why Earth and environmental scientists use numerical modeling as a tool for understanding complex systems and then teach them how to use the STELLA software that ...

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Unit 2: Modeling Population part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create three different STELLA models to explore a variety of concepts related to population growth and resource use. The first model simulates the classic lynx-snowshoe hare predator-prey ...

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Unit 3: Simple Climate Models part of Modeling Earth Systems
Students will explore Earth's radiation budget using several versions of a simple climate model often referred to as a "layer model." Earth receives energy from the sun, some of which is reflected ...

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Unit 9: Carbon Cycle and Ocean Chemistry part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this module, students first review some background material on the terrestrial, marine, and anthropogenic processes involved in the storage and transfer of carbon in the Earth system. The students then build a ...

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