Volume of oceans, and sea-level variations
This activity was selected for the Teaching Computation in the Sciences Using MATLAB Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review process are
- Computational, Quantitative, and Scientific Accuracy
- Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
- Pedagogic Effectiveness
- Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
- Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page
For more information about the peer review process itself, please see https://serc.carleton.edu/teaching_computation/materials/activity_review.html.
This page first made public: Oct 12, 2015
Context for Use
Description and Teaching Materials
Students are randomly assigned into groups of three (using slips of paper, or by shuffling student names in Matlab). Each team member is responsible for one aspect of the assignment; however the activity is set up that an individual will not be penalized if another group member does not follow through or is late. By giving clear responsibilities I hope to set them up for effective team work later on.
We briefly discuss what contributes to sea-level rise (melting of glaciers/icesheets versus that of sea ice, warming of ocean water) before turning to the "problem sheet" -- see attached file. Students are also given the "report checklist"; this is used for each of their 6 assignments in this course.
A sample script is attached, and the course outline provides more information about the course overall.
This activity could be done by using for example NOAAs etopo digital data and another programming language. However, I was excited to find the world topography in Matlab and the calculated results (e.g., volume of oceans 1.337e9 km^3) are close to NOAAs value (1.335e9 km^3, see https://www.ngdc.noaa.gov/mgg/global/etopo1_ocean_volumes.html ).
problem sheet (Acrobat (PDF) 85kB Sep23 15)
marking guide (Acrobat (PDF) 32kB Oct12 15)
Report checklist (Acrobat (PDF) 99kB Sep23 15)possible solution ( 3kB Sep23 15)
course outline (Acrobat (PDF) 88kB Sep23 15)
Teaching Notes and Tips
- distribution meltwater over coastal areas (as opposed to simply dividing the melt volume by the current ocean area),
- using entry-wise multiplication in lieu of loops,
- adding helpful annotations to their code (date, author, brief description that would come up with the "help" command, and highlighting key steps of the script),- how to equitably contribute to a group.
Students are graded on
1. code (that it runs, includes header info and comments, and matches what they describe in their paper),
2. paper (title, abstract, introduction, method, data, results, discussion/conclusion, references, figures, writing), and
3. submission (all required parts in one email).
See attached marking guide and report checklist for details.