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Teaching Activities

These teaching activities have been designed with the aim of helping develop students' quantitative skills, literacy, or reasoning. To search by a specific discipline, use the 'Refine the Results' links on the right.


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Volcano Monitoring with GPS: Westdahl Volcano Alaska
Maite Agopian, EarthScope; Beth Pratt-Sitaula, UNAVCO
Learners use graphs of GPS position data to determine how the shape of Westdahl Volcano, Alaska is changing. If the flanks of a volcano swell or recede, it is a potential indication of magma movement and changing ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Human Wave: Modeling P and S Waves
IRIS (Incorporated Research Institutions for Seismology) and ShakeAlert
Lined up shoulder-to-shoulder, learners are the medium that P and S waves travel through in this simple, but effective demonstration. Once "performed", the principles of P and S waves will not be easily forgotten. This demonstration explores two of the four main ways energy propagates from the hypocenter of an earthquake as P and S seismic waves. The physical nature of the Human Wave demonstration makes it a highly engaging kinesthetic learning activity that helps students grasp, internalize and retain abstract information.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Earthquake Location: With real seismogram data
Anne Ortiz and Tammy Bravo (Science Education Solutions)
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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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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.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Unit 2.1: Geodetic survey of an outcrop for road cut design
Yonathan Admassu (James Madison University) John Paul Ligush (James Madison University) Matthew Gribbin (James Madison University)
This unit offers an alternative application for high-resolution topographic data from an outcrop. Using engineering geology methods and data collection from TLS and/or SfM, students design safe "road ...

GETSI Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the GETSI curricular materials development process.
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Unit 2.1: Measuring Topography with Kinematic GPS/GNSS
Benjamin Crosby, Idaho State University
Kinematic GNSS surveys can provide a rapid means of collecting widely distributed, high-precision topographic data. The advantages of this technique over optical instruments such as a total station are that it only ...

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Unit 2.2: Change Detection with Kinematic GPS/GNSS
Benjamin Crosby, Idaho State University
Though it may be difficult to perceive, landscapes are constantly changing form and position. High-precision GNSS is one of a handful of techniques capable of quantifying these changes and is a key component of ...

GETSI Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the GETSI curricular materials development process.
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Module 8: Pests and Integrated Pest Management
Heather Karsten, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
This module introduces three types of agricultural pests (insects, weeds, and pathogens), integrated pest management, and some of the transgenic crop technologies developed to reduce crop pests.

InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process.
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Module 4: Food and Water
Gigi Richard, Fort Lewis College
In this module, students will be introduced to the connections between water and agriculture. The first part of the module (4.1) explores how water is essential for growing food and how water is embedded in all of ...

InTeGrate Developed This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process.
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