Upper Division Activities

Part of the InTeGrate University of Northern Colorado Program Model

The University of Northern Colorado program model had an goal of increasing the societally-relevant material in upper division geoscience courses. Part of the work included a workshop to get faculty started in developing these materials and the program successfully published several teaching activities associated with upper division courses in the sequence. Each activity was assessed with pre- and post-testing of student outcomes and attitudes.

OCN 301 Physical and Chemical Oceanography

Sustainability of Ocean Resources Research Project: Law of the Sea
Students consider the history and development of the United Nations Law of the Sea Treaty, with a focus on extraction of natural resources from the ocean. Sustainability of a single resource is investigated in detail.

OCN 302 Geological and Biological Oceanography

Carbon Through Time: Legacy of Energy vs. Environment

The aim of the "Carbon Through Time" activity in OCN 302 Geological and Biological Oceanography was to (1) investigate and explore the science, systematics and societal impacts of carbon production and burning through time, and (2) to sample and analyze carbon content for both plankton and sediments from aquatic settings and compare them with common carbon-containing materials. This activity involved multiple parts done over a period of four weeks including: pre-post testing, field samples collection, analytical laboratory work, production of graphical and tabular data, analysis of results, and summary of findings from literature review of ocean acidification.

GEOL 414 Ore Geology

The Elements and Society
The purpose of investigating the societal relevance of ores and their sustainability for humans was to (1) emphasize the widespread distribution of important materials as seen in the periodic table; (2) struggle with questions related to where on earth to acquire ores (developed nations vs. emerging nations); and (3) consider sustainability, social costs, and environmental costs of mining. This activity consisted of multiple parts spread throughout the semester, including three main homework assignments, extensive class discussions, and pre-post assessments.

MET 452 Paleoclimatology

Is Warming Natural or Anthropogenic?
Students in upper division courses use global climate model results and a TED talk to consider human impact on climate through changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases and land surface change over the 20th century.

GEOL 460 Geomorphology

The Role of Modern Human Land use on Geomorphology
The goal of investigating the role of humans' effect on land surfaces across the United States was to (1) document land surface use changes between urban and rural environments close by our location; (2) document the land surface changes between Native American lands and other southwest landscapes outside of reservations; learn about the Mining Act, Dawes Act, and Homestead Act with respect to land-surface policies and their affect on geomorphic change through historical time.