We are very excited about having you here in Northfield July 14-17 to work on materials for teaching quantitative skills. This page provides some additional information about both travel plans and the materials you will be working on at the workshop. Remember, you can post to the workshop list-serv by sending mail to


It would be most helpful if each of you could make your own travel reservations. We will begin work at 8:30 on Thursday July 15 and finish after dinner on Saturday, July 17. We are counting on you to attend the full workshop. We will reimburse you for airline tickets to Minneapolis-Saint Paul and provide ground transportation. Remember to let us know your travel plans using the registration form no later than July 1.

Selecting an Activity

A primary focus of this workshop will be refining and then publishing on-line a teaching activity that you have tested in your teaching. This could be a lab assignment, a homework assignment, an in-class activity, or a project. We ask that each of you choose one such activity to work on that you use in your upper division teaching. In choosing this activity, first and foremost think about what you have done that is quantitative with upper-division students that you think really works well and that helps students become prepared to do quantitative geoscience. This would be the most important criteria for selecting the activity.

We hope that the collection of these activities can form the basis for set of materials that we will develop at the workshop to support faculty more generally as they teach students to use equations and models. So, if you have many activities to choose from, you might think about which one helps students with aspects of these two particular skills (for example using equations to describe geoscience phenomena or using models to test interpretations).

The last thing you might consider is transportability: is this something that a faculty member elsewhere could implement (with the guidance you are going to develop for them)? If you have any questions about selecting your activity, please don't hesitate to contact Cathy or Heather.

Submitting the Activity

By July 1, we would like you to put together a short description of the activity, the materials you use with your students in class, any supporting materials for students, and any other materials you have on hand you think would help a faculty member using this activity (e.g. answer key, grading rubric), and upload this package onto our server.

Reviewing Activities

We ask that each participant look at the materials submitted in their group (Oceanography, Meteorology, Solid Earth) prior to the workshop. There are two to four people in each group, so this should not be a huge burden. We will begin the workshop with these disciplinary groups discussing the materials that have been submitted.

Preparing Supporting Materials

In addition to working together to review and refine your activities, the second major activity of the workshop will be to develop supporting materials that will help other faculty use your activity effectively. I would guess that each of you have much to say about how you use the activity and why it works. That's the first thing we will try to capture in the supporting materials. As described above, we will also develop materials that provide more general guidance about teaching the use of equations and models. A challenge at the workshop will be figuring out how to best do this. There are a few existing examples that might guide our way. It would be very helpful if you could look at these before you come. To this end, please check out:

  1. Starting Point: Teaching Entry Level Geoscience ( - The goal of this site is to encourage faculty to try new teaching methods by providing ready to use examples linked to information about why the method is valuable and how to use it. The teaching examples pages and the website are both getting good reviews. This may provide some ideas for how we might want to present both our teaching activittes and the supporting resources.
  2. Quantitative Skills examples - This is the preliminary work we have done with other examples of teaching materials for quantitative skills. We will want to decide if we will use this format, modify/amend it, or try something very different.

If you have other favorite resources that have been helpful to you in thinking about teaching quantitative skills or other models for how we might present the teaching materials, please share them via the list-serv.

Lastly, we would like to use part of our time to think about teaching quantitative skills at the introductory level. If you have activities you think work very well at that level, you are welcome to upload them. We won't spend as much time at the workshop on these, but we would be happy to work with you to move these onto the website as well. We would encourage you to be thinking about what we could be doing in introductory geoscience courses to both strengthen the quantitative skills of the broad range of students in that class and better prepare those who will go on in geoscience for upper-division courses.