Friday Teaching Demos

Friday 1:30pm-3:00pm Bruininks 131B
Teaching Demonstration

Session Chair

Lee Schmitt, Hamline University
1:30pm-1:50pm
Student-built acoustic sensors for hands-on learning in the earth sciences
Sasha Seroy, University of Washington-Seattle Campus
Claire C McKinley, University of California-Davis
Robert Levine, University of Washington-Seattle Campus

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This activity introduces students to the concept and function of acoustics within the geosciences using inexpensive and commercially available sensor building materials. Several adaptations of this activity introduce students to a variety of applications of acoustics in geoscience from understanding pressure waves and controls on the speed of sound to mapping bathymetric features. In the basic table-top form of the activity, students build a simple acoustic sensor and use it to map features in a bathymetry box. In the field applications, students apply the same concepts to map bathymetric features off a dock or geologic features from above. Learning outcomes include an understanding of acoustic principles, experience building and using sensors, various applications of acoustics in geosciences and a consideration of sampling resolution and tradeoffs.
1:50pm-2:10pm
Demystifying Walther's Law: Large Pickleball Models and Tabletop Challenges to Stratigraphic Column Interpretation
Lee Schmitt, Hamline University
Kate Pound, North Hennepin Community College

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Many students find the application of Walther's Law a temporal-spatial challenge. In this demonstration a set of large plastic tubes represents geographically separated locations (ultimately stratigraphic columns) for laterally adjacent environments. Brightly colored pickleballs are used to represent sediment deposited in each environment. As sea-level is lowered or raised, sediment (pickleballs) is deposited, producing a color-coded record of sedimentation. Students use this visual and interactive demonstration to practice interpreting the record of sea-level change from sedimentary sequences. A parallel table-top activity allows students to challenge each other to interpret the sea-level change history using colored beads and test-tubes, drawing facies boundaries on plexiglass. This activity scaffolds into stratigraphic column interpretation exercises for marginal marine and glaciomarine environments where students can validate their interpretations using the large or table-top models.
2:10pm-2:30pm
Investigating Vegetation Patterns in an Urban Wetland Using Electrical Resistivity
Joshua Thompson, Rutgers University-New Brunswick
Lee Slater, Rutgers University-Newark
Carol Ormand Ph.D., Carleton College

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This module, consisting of 5 units, introduces students to the fundamental principles and uses of electrical resistivity, with a focus on an environmental application. Students explore the characteristics and environmental setting of Harrier Meadow, a saltmarsh just outside of New York City. They investigate the relationship between electrical resistivity and physical properties of the soil in the marsh. Students also discover how variations in survey configuration parameters control investigation depth (how far into the ground the signals sense) and spatial resolution (what size objects can be detected). Finally, students learn about and then perform geophysical inversion, which is the process of estimating the geophysical properties of the subsurface from geophysical observations. In the final unit of the module, students evaluate the extent to which the geophysical dataset and direct physical measurements support the hypothesis, introduced in the first unit, accounting for the distribution of Pickleweed in Harrier Meadow.
2:30pm-2:50pm
Bringing Polar Landscapes into the College Classroom Using 360-degree Interactive Environments
Emily Geraghty Ward, University of Colorado at Boulder
Twila Moon, University of Colorado at Boulder
Spruce Schoenemann, The University of Montana-Western
Alia Khan, Western Washington University
Anne Gold, University of Colorado at Boulder
Daniela Pennycook, University of Colorado at Boulder
Alyssa Lazoen, University of Colorado at Boulder
Yixiao Lei, University of Colorado at Boulder

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In this teaching demonstration, participants will have the chance to engage with 360-degree interactive environments (360 IE) that explore the polar environments of Greenland. We will discuss how the 360 IEs were designed using data and insights from NSF-funded polar research expeditions to Greenland and tested with students to optimize their usability. We will spend time working through an example 360 IE so that participants have the opportunity to experience them as their students would and finish up the session discussing how the IEs address specific learning outcomes like enhanced geospatial skills and development of a sense of polar place. We will finish the session with a discussion of how the IEs were considered in the design of embedded assessments that align with these student outcomes.