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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: Introduction to Modeling Dynamic Systems part of Modeling Earth Systems
× This course teaches students how to use numerical modeling to understand the complex Earth system. Provenance: This photo of Earth was taken by NASA astronauts: ...

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Unit 2: Modeling Population part of Modeling Earth Systems
× Exponential growth of the human population has led to a variety of environmental problems, such as this Beijing traffic jam. Provenance: Image apparently free to be used: ...

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Unit 1: Foundational Concepts part of Major Storms and Community Resilience
Unit 1 introduces foundational concepts in geoscience, emergency management, and political science that are critical for developing a systems thinking approach and for achieving the learning objectives in the storm ...

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Unit 2: Application of Concepts to Case Studies part of Major Storms and Community Resilience
In Unit 2, students apply and evaluate foundational concepts about storm hazards and risk in the context of two cases studies: Superstorm Sandy (2012) and the Storm of the Century (1993). Through different ...

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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 1.2 - Role of Soil part of Critical Zone Science
The focus on soil in this unit is accomplished by browsing and reading or browsing (in some detail) information from nine websites as well as a book chapter. This effort will help students to understand issues ...

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Unit 4.2 - Carbon Budgets part of Critical Zone Science
The purpose of this unit is to explore, compare, contrast, and interpret carbon fluxes from the Ameriflux network to better appreciate the critical factors that account for the different timing and magnitudes of ...

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Unit 5.1 - Water Balance of a Tree part of Critical Zone Science
The assignment is to calculate an annual water balance for a tree using data gathered at the Southern Sierra Critical Zone Observatory. In the framework of experimental design, students will organize around a ...

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Unit 5.2 - Water Balance Impacts part of Critical Zone Science
This is the second module of a two week-long unit on hydrology in an upper-level undergraduate course on the Critical Zone. After Unit 5.1, students should have a basic understanding of the fluxes and reservoirs in ...

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Unit 3.2 - Landforms and Remote Sensing part of Critical Zone Science
In this unit, geomorphic environments and the processes that can move and shape them are explored to learn about the links between landforms, soils, and the Critical Zone. The fundamentals of geomorphology are ...

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Unit 2.1 - Basic Tools & Analysis part of Critical Zone Science
This unit will introduce methods and data from Critical Zone observatories as well as methods that scientists use in their research. These activities will provide an introduction to methods used in later units and ...

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Unit 4.1 - Energy Budgets part of Critical Zone Science
The purpose of this unit is to explore, compare, contrast, and calculate energy fluxes from different CZO field sites to better appreciate the critical differences in the driving radiative forces affecting each ...

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Unit 6.2 - Biogeochemical Examples part of Critical Zone Science
In this week-long unit students will explore Critical Zone function and dynamics as they relate to nutrient cycling in agricultural systems and nutrient pollution into aquatic systems. This unit is generally ...

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Unit 6.1 - Biogeochemical Modeling Framework part of Critical Zone Science
In this unit, students will learn about the dynamic movement of nutrients among and within ecosystems primarily through the reading and discussion of scientific literature. This unit is generally subdivided into ...

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Unit 1: What is Sustainability in the Context of Water? part of Water, Agriculture, Sustainability
In this three to four class unit, students will: Assess the case for a global water crisis and its relevance in America. Expand their understanding of sustainability as a contestable concept and movement. Consider ...

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Unit 2: Water Footprints part of Water, Agriculture, Sustainability
Unit 2 opens a window into water accounting and reveals intensive water use that few people think about. How much water goes into common commodities? Have you considered how much water it takes to support our ...

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Unit 5: Balancing the Radiation Budget: A Jigsaw Exploration of the Global Climate System (Part 2) part of Earths Thermostat
In this two-day activity spanning Units 4 and 5, students analyze spatial variation in climate through a map-based jigsaw exploration of NASA's Earth's Radiation Budget Experiment (ERBE) data. By the end ...

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Unit 2: Earth's Atmosphere and Its Influence on Temperature part of Earths Thermostat
This unit investigates the role of the atmosphere on incoming solar and outgoing terrestrial radiation and analyzes modern trends in greenhouse gas concentrations. Students first investigate radiation spectra to ...

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Unit 5: Circulation in the atmosphere - a map and cross section based jigsaw part of Earths Thermostat
In this optional activity, students analyze maps of wind patterns from three levels in the atmosphere in order to infer global atmospheric circulation patterns and their role in balancing the radiation budget they ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Unit 6: Capstone: A modern catastrophic volcanic eruption? part of Earths Thermostat
This unit is the module's capstone project: developing a conceptual model of the climatic and societal effects of a catastrophic volcanic eruption occurring in modern times. Through independent research and ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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