SAGE 2YC > Engage 2YC Students in Research > Teaching Activities

Teaching Activities

These teaching activities have been submitted by faculty teaching in the lower-division at a variety of institutions. They showcase examples of research experiences or provide practice with individual pieces of the research process.


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Build a Better Wall
FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Administration) and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program). Improvements by ShakeAlert.
How can we design buildings to withstand an earthquake? This activity uses simple materials and gives learners a chance to experiment with structures that can withstand an earthquake. Two optional activities explore building damage by subjecting models to ground vibration on a small shake table.

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Base Isolation for Earthquake Resistance
Larry Braile (Purdue University) and TOTLE (Teachers on the Leading Edge) Project
This document includes two activities related to earthquake base isolation. Learners explore earthquake hazards and damage to buildings by constructing model buildings and subjecting the buildings to ground vibration (shaking similar to earthquake vibrations) on a small shake table. Base isolation a powerful tool for earthquake engineering. It is meant to enable a building to survive a potentially devastating seismic impact through a proper initial design or subsequent modifications. The buildings are constructed by two- or three-person learner teams.

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Earthquake Hazard Inventory & Mitigation Planning
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program), and ANGLE Project
In this two-part activity, students/participants first: - Complete a Hazard Inventory for their city or area of interest in the event of a magnitude 7 or larger earthquake and tsunami. - Identify what critical structures and infrastructure will be affected. Then: - Write a summary statement assessing strengths and vulnerabilities of essential services or infrastructure. - Propose actions for mitigating vulnerabilities. - Create an Action Plan to address identified needs.

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Tsunami Vertical Evacuation Structures (TVES)
Bonnie Magura (Portland Public Schools), Roger Groom (Mt Tabor Middle School), and CEETEP (Cascadia EarthScope Earthquake and Tsunami Education Program)
Students learn about tsunami vertical evacuation structures (TVES) as a viable solution for communities with high ground too far away for rapid evacuation. Students then apply basic design principles for TVES and make their own scale model that they think would fit will in their target community. Activity has great scope for both technical and creative design as well as practical application of math skills. Examples are from the Pacific Northwest, USA's most tsunami-vulnerable communities away from high ground, but it could be adapted to any region with similar vulnerability.

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Florida River Project - individual and group research project
Kim Hannula, Fort Lewis College
The Florida River Project is a semester-long project involving (1) an individual project in which students pose a scientific question and use existing data to test their hypothesis, and (2) a group project in which ...

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Student-designed Authentic Research Projects in a Non-major Environmental Geology Course
PRAJUKTI Bhattacharyya, University of Wisconsin-Whitewater
Student-designed, data-based authentic research projects can be useful tools for incorporating a dimension of authentic research in non-major science courses. Such an approach has been followed in a geoscience ...

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Semester Long Martian Research Project
Erin Kraal, Kutztown University of Pennsylvania
These project materials scaffold students through a semester-long, original research project. This specific project was developed using the online planetary science database JMARS. Weekly assignments guide ...

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Melting ice cubes
Mirjam Glessmer, Leibniz Institute of Science and Mathematics Education, Kiel, Germany
Explore how melting of ice cubes floating in water is influenced by the salinity of the water. Important oceanographic concepts like density and density driven currents are visualized and can be discussed on the ...

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An integrated view of the Glendale Landscape
Kaye Savage, Wofford College
Students work in groups to develop posters that communicate their concept of landscape following several field labs (soils, sediment analysis, river discharge, vegetation survey, aquatic life) at one location. They ...

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Final Project for Introductory Soils Course
Daniel Hirmas, University of Kansas Main Campus
These assignments represent scaffolding for a self-directed final project.

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