Using Earth Data in a Large General Education Oceanography Class

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William Prothero Univ of Calif Santa Barbara
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This is a set of activities and an approach to using data in a large general education oceanography class.
GSA Poster (Acrobat (PDF) 590kB Oct31 03)

Learning Goals


Higher Order Thinking Skills:

Scientific argumentation
Presenting/Communicating ideas to others

Other Skills:

Simple math skills
Computer use for web browsing and online software


Instructional Level:

undergraduate entry level

Skills Needed:

a general high school education

Role of Activity in a Course:

This applies to an entire course

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:

EarthEd Online software is required, although the essential data browsers: "Our Dynamic Planet", "Global Ocean Data Viewer", "Fishbanks" will work in a standalone mode. General computer literacy is required.

Logistical Challenges:

Installing the software in a computer lab.
Showing students how to use the software.


Evaluation Goals:

Students write a science paper. I would like to know if they can use the elevation, quake, volcano, and other data to argue in support of the theory of plate tectonics.

Evaluation Techniques:

I and Prof. Greg Kelly, of the UCSB Graduate School of Education are studying student writing and using the results to improve the scaffolding of activities, grading rubric, and other activities. For example I am using "Quickwrites" to give students an early taste of what it means to construct a scientific argument.


This is an entire oceanography class.