AP/IB/Honors Environmental Science Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level environmental science courses. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.

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Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)

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Unit 8: Thermohaline Circulation part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this module, students first review some background material on density-driven deep currents in the oceans, and then create a STELLA model of the thermohaline circulation in the North Atlantic Ocean. The model ...

Unit 3: Simple Climate Models part of Modeling Earth Systems
Students will explore Earth's radiation budget using several versions of a simple climate model often referred to as a "layer model." Earth receives energy from the sun, some of which is reflected ...

Unit 5: Growth and Decay of Ice Sheets part of Modeling Earth Systems
Large continental ice sheets, such as the Laurentide Ice Sheet from the last glaciation, as well as Antarctica and Greenland of today, are some of the most important features of the global climate system — they ...

Unit 9: Carbon Cycle and Ocean Chemistry part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this module, students first review some background material on the terrestrial, marine, and anthropogenic processes involved in the storage and transfer of carbon in the Earth system. The students then build a ...

Summative Assessment: Creating a model part of Modeling Earth Systems
The summative assessment for this course requires students to construct, utilize, and critique a numerical model of a climate-related Earth system of their choosing. The project involves four pieces: creating a ...

Unit 2: Modeling Population part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create three different STELLA models to explore a variety of concepts related to population growth and resource use. The first model simulates the classic lynx-snowshoe hare predator-prey ...

Unit 6: Hydrologic Balance and Climate Change part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create a STELLA model of the Owens River chain of lakes in eastern California and then experiment with different climate change scenarios to simulate the Pleistocene history of lake filling ...

Unit 7: Heat Flow in Permafrost part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit, students create a STELLA model of heat flow in the top 1 km of Earth's crust to explore the use of Arctic borehole temperature profiles as recorders of anthropogenic warming. The exercise draws ...

Unit 4: The Magic of Geophysical Inversion part of IGUaNA:Teaching Materials:Evaluating the Health of an Urban Wetland Using Electrical Resistivity
This unit introduces the student to the concept of geophysical inversion, which is the process of estimating the geophysical properties of the subsurface from the geophysical observations. The basic mechanics of ...

Topographic differencing: Earthquake along the Wasatch fault part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
After a big earthquake happens people ask, 'Where did the earthquake occur? How big was it? What type of fault was activated?' We designed an undergraduate laboratory exercise in which students learn how ...

Student-Generated Sustainability Short Stories Anchored in Science and Information Literacies and the SDGs part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
To build and improve upon their science and information literacies, students create a collection of short non-fiction stories that connect to at least one of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). ...

8. Efficiency and Conservation part of Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability
Household energy use accounts for a significant portion of the nation's energy use; therefore, an important aspect of energy conservation is having buildings that are energy efficient. In this activity, ...

Module 7: Soils and a Systems Approach to Soil Quality part of Future of Food
This module introduces what is meant by soil quality or soil health, indicators of soil quality, and the multiple cropping system approaches that can enhance soil quality for agricultural production. In the first ...

Building Shaking —Variations of the BOSS Model part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Building Oscillation Seismic Simulation, or BOSS, is an opportunity for learners to explore the phenomenon of resonance for different building heights while performing a scientific experiment that employs mathematical skills. They experience how structures behave dynamically during an earthquake.

Unit 4: Daisyworld part of Modeling Earth Systems
Students explore Daisyworld, a model of a self-regulating system incorporating positive and negative feedbacks. Daisyworld is a planet on which black and white daisies are the only things growing. The model ...

Unit 10: Coupled Economic and Environmental Models part of Modeling Earth Systems
How do people treat commonly held resources? Ecologist Garrett Hardin suggested that, in the absence of any restrictions or incentives, rational people will tend to drastically overuse any common resource. In this ...

Unit 1: Introduction to Modeling Dynamic Systems part of Modeling Earth Systems
In this unit we introduce students to the reasons why Earth and environmental scientists use numerical modeling as a tool for understanding complex systems and then teach them how to use the STELLA software that ...

How Do We Know Where an Earthquake Originated? part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Students use real seismograms to determine the arrival times for P and S waves and use these times to determine the distance of the seismic station from the earthquake. Seismograms from three stations are provided to determine the epicenter using the S – P (S minus P) method. Because real seismograms contain some "noise" with resultant uncertainty in locating arrival times of P and S waves, this activity promotes appreciation for uncertainties in interpretation of real scientific data.

Alaska GPS Analysis of Plate Tectonics and Earthquakes part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
This activity introduces students to high precision GPS as it is used in geoscience research. Students build "gumdrop" GPS units and study data from three Alaska GPS stations from the Plate Boundary Observatory network. They learn how Alaska's south central region is "locked and loading" as the Pacific Plate pushes into North America and builds up energy that will be released in the future in other earthquakes such as the 1964 Alaska earthquake.

Unit 3: Managing the Risks of Lead Exposure part of Lead in the Environment
In the past two units, students considered the strengths and limitations of scientific tools to identify exposure pathways and demographic patterns of lead poisoning. In Unit 3, students evaluate domestic ...