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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OGGM-Edu Glaciology Lab 1: What Makes a Glacier? part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
This is a three-part class or lab activity that challenges students to define what a glacier is, how it differs from other parts of the cryosphere (such as sea ice), and what kinds of glaciers there are in the ...

Episodic tremor and slip: The Case of the Mystery Earthquakes | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Earthquakes in western Washington and Oregon are to be expected—the region lies in the Cascadia Subduction Zone. Offshore, the Juan de Fuca tectonic plate subducts under the North American plate, from northern California to British Columbia. The region, however, also experiences exotic seismicity— Episodic Tremor and Slip (ETS).In this lesson, your students study seismic and GPS data from the region to recognize a pattern in which unusual tremors--with no surface earthquakes--coincide with jumps of GPS stations. This is ETS. Students model ductile and brittle behavior of the crust with lasagna noodles to understand how properties of materials depend on physical conditions. Finally, they assemble their knowledge of the data and models into an understanding of ETS in subduction zones and its relevance to the millions of residents in Cascadia.

Visualizing Relationships with Data: Exploring plate boundaries with Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and GPS Data in the Western U.S. & Alaska | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Learners use the UNAVCO GPS Velocity Viewer, or the included map packet to visualize relationships between earthquakes, volcanoes, and plate boundaries as a jigsaw activity.

Detecting Cascadia's changing shape with GPS | Lessons on Plate Tectonics part of Geodesy:Activities
Research-grade Global Positioning Systems (GPS) allow students to deduce that Earth's crust is changing shape in measurable ways. From data gathered by EarthScope's Plate Boundary Observatory, students discover that the Pacific Northwest of the United States and coastal British Columbia — the Cascadia region - are geologically active: tectonic plates move and collide; they shift and buckle; continental crust deforms; regions warp; rocks crumple, bend, and will break.

Measuring Plate Motion with GPS: Iceland part of Geodesy:Activities
This lesson teaches middle and high school students to understand the architecture of GPS—from satellites to research quality stations on the ground. This is done with physical models and a presentation. Then students learn to interpret data for the station's position through time ("time series plots"). Students represent time series data as velocity vectors and add the vectors to create a total horizontal velocity vector. They apply their skills to discover that the Mid-Atlantic Ridge is rifting Iceland. They cement and expand their understanding of GPS data with an abstraction using cars and maps. Finally, they explore GPS vectors in the context of global plate tectonics.

Converging Tectonic Plates Demonstration part of Geodesy:Activities
During this demo, participants use springs and a map of the Pacific Northwest with GPS vectors to investigate the stresses and surface expression of subduction zones, specifically the Juan de Fuca plate diving beneath the North American plate.

Frequency of Large Earthquakes part of EarthScope ANGLE:Educational Materials:Activities
Using the IRIS Earthquake Browser tool, students gather data to support a claim about how many large (Mw 8+) earthquakes will happen globally each year. This activity provides scaffolded experience downloading data and manipulating data within a spreadsheet.

Assessing the Risk of Invasive Species Using Community Science Data part of Project EDDIE:Teaching Materials:Modules
This module introduces students who are already familiar with GIS to doing comparative analyses with large-scale community science (often called citizen science) data sets. Students will explore how we can use ...

Understanding Doppler radar radial velocity fields part of Pedagogy in Action:Library:Spatial Reasoning with GeoClick Questions:Examples
This activity is designed to help students learn how to interpret Doppler radial velocity radar images with meteorological applications, as well as giving students a chance to practice their spatial skills.

Bomb Cyclones - They're Explosive! part of Project EDDIE:Teaching Materials:Modules
Storms can have devastating impacts on coastal communities. Typically, tropical storms like hurricanes get the most attention, but there are other types of storms that occur at more northern latitudes that can be ...

FutureEarthCast: Voicemails from 50 years in the future part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
Students are challenged to write a script and record a voicemail that is left 50 years in the future, describing changes that have taken place in the local environment based upon scientifically-accurate information ...

Water Optimism - focusing on solutions for the hydrosphere in a take-home final exam part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
This take-home final exam asks students to demonstrate their improved skills in searching for sources (information literacy) and writing on freshwater science/society/policy intersections (science literacy), and ...

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). ...

Lake Mixing Module part of Project EDDIE:Teaching Materials:Modules
Stratified lakes exhibit vertical gradients in organisms, nutrients, and oxygen, which have important implications for ecosystem structure and functioning. Mixing disrupts these gradients by redistributing these ...

Rally Speeches for Coastal Optimism part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
Storytelling is an effective way to communicate what is happening along our local-to-international coastal zones. However, most of the stories students hear are ones of "doom and gloom." Therefore, ...

The Food We Eat Can Have a Positive Impact on Climate Justice part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Does the food on my plate impact my happiness and/or climate change, and if yes, how and what can I do about it?

Earthquake Early Warning Demonstration part of Geodesy:Activities
This hands-on demonstration illustrates how GPS instruments can be used in earthquake early warning systems to alert people of impending shaking. The same principles can be applied to other types of early warning systems (such as tsunami) or to early warning systems using a different type of geophysical sensor (such as a seismometer instead of a GPS).This demo is essentially a game that works best with a large audience (ideally over 30 people) in an auditorium. A few people are selected to be either surgeons, GPS stations, or a warning siren, with everyone else forming an earthquake "wave."

Science with Flubber: Glacial Isostasy part of Geodesy:Activities
Using two sets of flubber, one representing the Earth and one representing a glacier, demonstrate how the crust sinks and rebounds to the weight of a glacier, and how this motion can be measured using GPS.Flubber is a rubbery elastic substance, a non-Newtonian elasco-plastic fluid, that flows under gravity, but breaks when under high stress. Flubber is useful for demonstrating a wide range of Earth and glacier processes.

Did Early Farmers Alter Climate? part of Teach the Earth:Teaching Activities
The overarching goal of this exercise is for students to explore the early anthropogenic hypothesis, which claims that early agriculture had a substantial impact on greenhouse gases and global climate thousands 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 ...