InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Critical Zone Science > Student Materials > Student Materials Unit 2.1
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These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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For the Instructor

These student materials complement the Critical Zone Science Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

Unit 2.1: Basic Tools and Analysis

Introduction

This unit will introduce methods and data from Critical Zone observatories as well as methods that scientists use in their research. These activities will provide an introduction to methods used in later units and help you develop a research proposal for the summative assessment activity.

In this unit, you will be introduced to basic scientific methods as you:
  • create an effective annotated bibliography
  • use software such as MS Excel to graph, analyze and interpret data

Unit 2.1: Basic Tools and Analysis

Part 1 - Research Methods

Pre-class

  • Think about a Critical Zone topic or research question that you want to do preliminary research on. This research can be the foundation for your summative assessment proposal.

In-class

Guest Lecture

  • Reference librarian or research specialist will discuss:
    • how to define and narrow a topic for a literature search,
    • how to locate appropriate databases in which to search,
    • how to find full-text sources,
    • how to cite references.
Annotated Bibliography
  • You will select a topic of interest, select five appropriate sources, produce an annotated bibliography and refine your research questions based on the readings - see detailed assignment below. Focus on refining your research question and getting started with a bibliographic search.

Homework

  • Complete the annotated bibliography assignment that was started in class.

Part 2 - Using Spreadsheets

Pre-class

  • Review Microsoft Excel software and be prepared to provide your instructor with some feedback on your comfort level and expertise using Excel.

In-class

Excel Spreadsheets

  • Your professor will discuss various ways to visualize data and review basic spreadsheet operations such as:
    • import data,
    • using formulas,
    • line, bar and XY graphing,
    • trendline analysis and construction of histograms,
    • representation of time and missing data.
Data Plotting
  • You will produce a line graph and estimate slope, construct a histogram, and produce a bar graph using data from one of the CZO web sites http://criticalzone.org/national/. Each site has data listed that can be used. Start exploring the CZO database for data sets you are interested in using.
    • Worksheet/Rubric

Homework

  • Complete the data plotting activity that was started in class.

Additional Resources

Annotated Bibliographies:

Spreadsheet Analysis:

These materials are part of a collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »