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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Module 7: Mammal Responses to Climate Change in the Past and the Future with Neotoma Explorer part of Neotoma:Teaching Activities
Animal distributions are frequently controlled by climate extremes, especially seasonal ones. Therefore, if the climate changes from cold to warm (or vice versa) then using modern mammal distributions and modern climate conditions it is possible to make predictions about how the mammal will respond to the climate change -- whether it is past or future. In this module students use the Neotoma Paleoecological Database to test predictions, or establish hypotheses, about how certain species of mammals have responded to climate change in the past and how they might do so on the future. Part of the Neotoma Education Modules for Biotic Response to Climate Change.

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Fault Models for Teaching About Plate Tectonics part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
This short interactive activity has learners to manipulate fault blocks to better understand different types of earthquake-generating faults in different tectonic settings--extensional, convergent, and strike-slip. Fault models aid in visualizing and understanding faulting and plate motions because the instructor and their students can manipulate a three-dimensional model for a true hands-on experience.

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Build a Better Wall part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
How can we design buildings to withstand an earthquake? This activity uses simple materials and gives learners a chance to experiment with structures that can withstand an earthquake. Two optional activities explore building damage by subjecting models to ground vibration on a small shake table.

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How Do We Know Where an Earthquake Originated? part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Students use real seismograms to determine the arrival times for P and S waves and use these times to determine the distance of the seismic station from the earthquake. Seismograms from three stations are provided to determine the epicenter using the S – P (S minus P) method. Because real seismograms contain some "noise" with resultant uncertainty in locating arrival times of P and S waves, this activity promotes appreciation for uncertainties in interpretation of real scientific data.

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Earthquake Hazard Maps & Liquefaction: Alaska emphasis part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Ground shaking is the primary cause of earthquake damage to man-made structures. This exercise combines three related activities on the topic of shaking-induced ground instability: a ground shaking amplification demonstration, a seismic landslides demonstration, and a liquefaction experiment. The amplitude of ground shaking is affected by the type of near-surface rocks and soil. Earthquake ground shaking can cause even gently sloping areas to slide when those same areas would be stable under normal conditions. Liquefaction is a phenomenon where water-saturated sand and silt take on the characteristics of a dense liquid during the intense ground shaking of an earthquake and deform. Includes Alaska and San Francisco examples.

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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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Exploring Tectonic Motions with GPS part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Using a map showing the horizontal velocities of GPS stations in the Plate Boundary Observatory and other GPS networks in Alaska and Western United States, students are able to describe the motions in different regions by interpreting the vectors resulting from long-term high-precision Global Positioning System (GPS) data. Show more information on NGSS alignment Hide NGSS ALIGNMENT Disciplinary Core Ideas History of Earth: HS-ESS1-5 Earth' Systems: MS-ESS2-2 Earth and Human Activity: MS-ESS3-2, HS-ESS3-1 Science and Engineering Practices 4. Analyzing and Interpreting Data 5. Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking 6. Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions Crosscutting Concepts 4. Systems and System Models 7. Stability and Change

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Volcano Monitoring with GPS: Westdahl Volcano Alaska part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Learners use graphs of GPS position data to determine how the shape of Westdahl Volcano, Alaska is changing. If the flanks of a volcano swell or recede, it is a potential indication of magma movement and changing ...

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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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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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Module 3 Sea Ice as an Indicator of Climate Change part of Oceans in the News:Oceans in the News – Polar Ocean Science, Data, and the Media
This module focuses on the differences between the Arctic and Antarctic in terms of physical factors like sea ice cover. This is the first polar content-heavy module of the course, and it relies on skills built in ...

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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: Culmination of Module in Town Hall Meeting part of Major Storms and Community Resilience
Over the course of one week, students will apply and evaluate concepts in the context of their local community, culminating in the formulation and evaluation of Hazard Mitigation Plan recommendations presented in ...

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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 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 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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InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process.
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