Model Uncertainty Module

Basil Tikoff, University of Wisconsin-Madison
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This is a (~30 slide) powerpoint with embedded video/audio that specifically addresses model uncertainty. It provides an "evidence meter" that allows you to evaluate a model. Explicit discussion of multiple working hypotheses. It provides geological examples of how to evaluate one's uncertainty with a model. It could easily be used in a variety of classroom or lab settings, when data is discussed. This powerpoint has a "Data Uncertainty Module" counterpart.

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Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

map reading

How the activity is situated in the course

It is used prior to a day in which we are evaluating a critical area that will distinguish (or not) between different models. Students work through this powerpoint and have two distinct interpretations to evaluate to see which their data agree better with.

Activity Length

~1 hour


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Evaluating evidence and uncertainty when evaluating a model

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Critical evaluation of competing models

Other skills goals for this activity

independent assessment

Description and Teaching Materials

A powerpoint presentation about addressing the uncertainty of models in the geological science. It addresses multiple working hypotheses and provides an "evidence meter" for evaluating models.
Model Uncertainty Module (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 12.2MB May16 20)

Technology Needs


Teaching Notes and Tips

The audio portions are authentic and very helpful for the overall experiences. This was originally designed as part of capstone experience, but we realized that it might be generally useful. It can be paired with evaluating competing published maps on the Sage Hen flat project.

It has a counterpart about uncertainty associated with models (Data Uncertainty Module).


The assessment is done by comparing different models.

References and Resources

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