Tuesday Session B

Tuesday 1:30pm-4:00pm Weeks Geo: 140
Teaching Demonstration

Session Chairs

Jane Dmochowski, University of Pennsylvania
Todd Ellis, Western Michigan University
1:30pm-1:50pm
A Lecture Tutorial on the Mahomet Aquifer in central Illinois
Eileen Herrstrom, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Show Abstract »

The objectives of this activity are to make lecture more interactive, introduce methods used in lab, and increase lecture attendance. The activity is presented in the context of a lecture on groundwater which begins with definitions of basic terms. Before doing the activity, students see the results of an exercise called "Using GIS to construct water table maps and flow nets", which is available through On the Cutting Edge (https://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/hydrogeo/activities/9937.html). Students will use a similar technique in the activity and later in their laboratory session. The handout comprises several questions and a map that shows hydraulic heads of the Mahomet Aquifer. Students are prompted to draw contour lines on the potentiometric surface and add arrows indicating the direction of groundwater flow. Next, they compare their groundwater maps with a model of the aquifer before major withdrawals began. Finally, they answer a series of questions to emphasize the main points. Objectives are largely met by this exercise. Interactivity increased, as lecture content slides were reduced from 28 to 19. The percentage of students completing the related lab exercise rose from less than 80% to more than 90%. Attendance at lecture increased from less than half to ~75%.
1:50pm-2:10pm
Sediment Transportation in Stream Systems
Megan Sjoblom, Brigham Young University-Idaho

Show Abstract »

My lab activity uses simple stream systems to teach and reinforce concepts in introductory geology courses. Each group of students receives a pvc half-pipe that they partially fill with a sand-gravel mixture to create a stream bed. They are asked to write down hypotheses on effects of changing gradient on sediment. Students then pour water to flow on and through the sediment and create a stream channel and measure gradient and calculate velocity and discharge. They make and label drawings and photos with observations (e.g. locations of sediment erosion, transportation, or deposition, grain sizes, type of stream channel). Students repeat the experiment three additional times, changing a variable each time then answer follow-up questions to assess their understanding of concepts. Outcomes are as follows: 1) Demonstrate an understanding of different components or variables of a science experiment; 2) Demonstrate and develop critical thinking skills to answer questions or test solutions to problems; 3) Demonstrate an understanding of cause and effect relationships in stream systems related to sediment erosion, transportation, and deposition by connecting observations to processes such as changes to stream gradient; and 4) Gain real science experiences doing science investigations where the outcomes may not be known.
2:10pm-2:30pm
Case Study
Jane Dmochowski, University of Pennsylvania

Show Abstract »

Students are given information about Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). This information helps them to understand that these are persistent legacy contaminants banned in 1977 by the EPA for concerns about the compound's toxicity. They are then introduced to two major American waterways contaminated with PCBs--the Hudson River and the Delaware River. In the Hudson River, dredging occurs to remove contaminated sediment. It is a costly and invasive process that quickly removes pollutants. The Delaware River has Total Maximum Daily Loads (TMDLs) that limit introduction of new pollutants and allow for natural attenuation. TMDLs are a long-term, non-disruptive solution that put a burden on local businesses and municipalities. Given the context and history of the contamination in each river, the two respective remediation methods are compared. The students are then given a new case in Charlotte, North Carolina, of elevated PCB concentrations from wastewater at the Mallard Creek treatment plant. They are then asked to take on the role of one of the stakeholders listed below and prepare to discuss their concerns, ideas, and preferred method of remediation for the possibility of contaminated waterways near Charlotte, NC during class. North Carolina Department of Environmental Protection Municipal water department in Charlotte Resident living along the Rocky River
2:30pm-2:50pm
"ZirChron" Virtual Zircon Analysis App
Mark Schmitz, Boise State University
Karen Viskupic, Boise State University

Show Abstract »

This application was developed to promote deeper understanding of the science of geochronology, including the integration of crystal-scale relative dating principles with numerical dating via radioisotope measurements. An integral aspect of developing this understanding is practical experience with the decision-making that goes into the selection of samples for analysis, and the subsequent interpretation of the resulting isotopic ages from those samples. The U-Pb decay system in zircon is particularly amenable to this practice, as we can apply different methods—in situ laser ablation inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry and high-precision chemical abrasion isotope dilution thermal ionization mass spectrometry—to the same crystals, and link the resulting radioisotopic ages to the textures within crystals revealed by cathodoluminescence imaging. By the end of this activity, students will be able to: Apply relative dating principles at the crystal scale Describe the statistical distribution of the crystal ages including means, modes and outliers Form hypotheses relating the statistical distribution of crystal ages to the physical characteristics of those crystals Form and test hypotheses about the geologic processes that could account for the distribution of crystal ages in a population Describe the decisions made to determine the geologic age of a rock from a set of crystals
2:50pm
Break
3:00pm-3:20pm
Clouds in a Bottle: A versatile way to explore gas laws and phase changes
Todd Ellis, Western Michigan University

Show Abstract »

In this activity, designed for introductory level undergraduates, but adaptable for K-16 learners, we explore fundamental ideas about the Ideal Gas Law as it applies to the atmosphere, and specifically to the formation of clouds in the atmosphere. The activity features apparatus that can be used in small groups for observe, explain, predict, explain activities, computer based equipment that allow for quantitative analysis and graphing. Upon successful completion of this activity, learners should be able to: Breakdown the ideal gas law equation into its component variables and explain the relationships between those variables when one is held constant Construct a graph of temperature vs. pressure for a handheld cloud chamber, and explain the relationships observed Create a model for how clouds form in the atmosphere, including the roles of cloud condensation nuclei, temperature changes, and the role of water vapor
3:20pm-3:40pm
Low Cost Science: The Solar System in Your Classroom
Daniel Barth, University of Arkansas Main Campus
Katherine Auld, Northwest Arkansas Community College

Show Abstract »

Participants will use low-cost materials to construct scientifically accurate models in the classroom. The first model will allow the student to investigate the Earth-Moon system including lunar phases, elliptical orbits, and gravitational effects. Our second model will allow students to investigate the size and scale of the Earth-Moon system and how both solar and lunar eclipses work and why their frequencies are so different. The third project will allow students to construct an accurate model of the solar system from the Sun to the outermost dwarf planets that will demonstrate the relative size of solar system bodies and the vast distances between the planets. The advantage of our low-cost approach is that all three models, while being scientifically and mathematically accurate, can be constructed for less than $2 per student, making them inexpensive enough for rugged classroom use and students can 'take home' the projects that they have constructed. The projects are easily scalable, allowing their effective use from early elementary to advanced secondary classes. Mathematical complexity and scientific detail can easily be adjusted to meet a variety of state standards, as well as the needs of the individual instructor at any level.
3:40pm-4:00pm
Phases of the moon: Exploring perceptions from around the globe and outer space
Scott Clark, University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire

Show Abstract »

Cream-filled, chocolate sandwich cookies, such as Oreo®, are a popular way to teach students about the phases of the moon, and numerous images and lesson plans are readily available online. However, activities that show an internally consistent model and that challenge students to grasp the underlying cause of the moon's phases are not. The activity that I will be presenting uses sandwich cookies in a novel way that is designed to challenge alternative conceptions and to provide students with a conceptual understanding of the Earth-Sun-moon relationships. Students use two sandwich cookies for each phase, with one cookie modeling how the sun is always illuminating half of the moon, and the other showing the appropriate phase of the moon as observed from Earth. The cookie activity is supplemented with a second activity that requires students to manipulate a half-painted plastic golf ball that represents the moon and a slightly larger ball that represents Earth. Beyond furthering the students' abilities to identify the moon's phase based on the Earth-Sun-moon positions, manipulation of these objects helps the students to visualize why the mnemonic device "last light left" for a waning crescent moon is only applicable in the northern hemisphere.