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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FutureEarthCast: Voicemails from 50 years in the future
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
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 ...

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Rally Speeches for Coastal Optimism
Laura Guertin, Penn State Brandywine
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, ...

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Geology of Yosemite Valley
Nicolas Barth, University of California-Riverside
This is a four-part module designed to be flexible in duration and student grade-level. (1) Geology of Yosemite Valley Virtual Field Trip. A 43-stop web-based Google Earth tour with embedded views, hyperlinked ...

Online Field Experience Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the Teaching with Online Field Experiences Exemplary collection
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Lesson 3: The Value of a Water Footprint (High School)
Kai Olson-Sawyer, GRACE Communications Foundation
Session 1 of this lesson begins with a quick activity to get students thinking about their direct and virtual water use. It introduces a few new ideas for virtual water use that may surprise students, including the ...

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Using concept sketches for field trip wrap-up
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
This is a post-field trip assignment in a structural geology course. Students create a set of concept sketches, with a short introduction, to illustrate the structural features and geologic history of the area, ...

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Baseflow recession
Les Hasbargen, SUNY College at Oneonta
This baseflow recession exercise will help students build skills in analyzing time series data in a spreadsheet. It should also open their eyes to the variation in streamflow, both at a single location over a year, ...

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Structure from Motion for Analysis of River Characteristics
Sharon Bywater-Reyes, University of Northern Colorado; Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
In spring 2020, the world was hit by a pandemic that spread globally by March, causing universities and most of the world to move to remote means. Summer field camps, long hailed as a rite of passage in the ...

Alaska 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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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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