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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.


Results 31 - 40 of 517 matches

Roping Geologic Time
Randall Richardson, The University of Arizona
After having talked about the geologic time scale, I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Rate of Lava Flow
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question In 1983, an eruption began at Kilauea Volcano in Hawaii that has proved to be the largest and longest-lived eruption since records began in 1823. Lava has poured out of the volcano at an average rate of ...

Back-of-the-Envelope Calculations: Weight of Gold
Barb Tewksbury, Hamilton College
Question Let's suppose that you have a shoe box full of water (the box is waterproof, of course). The shoe box weighs about 9 kg (19.8 pounds). Suppose you emptied the box and filled it completely with rock ...

The Modern Atmospheric CO2 Record
Bob Mackay, Clark College
Students compare carbon dioxide (CO2) data from Mauna Loa Observatory, Barrow (Alaska), and the South Pole over the past 40 years to help them better understand what controls atmospheric CO2. -

Carbon Dioxide Exercise
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
Students work in groups, plotting carbon dioxide concentrations over time on overheads and estimating the rate of change over five years. -

Estimating Exchange Rates of Water in Embayments using Simple Budget Equations.
Keith Sverdrup, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Simple budgets may be used to estimate the exchange of water in embayments that capitalize on the concept of steady state and conservation principals. This is especially true for bays that experience a significant exchange of freshwater. This exchange of freshwater may reduce the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if it involves addition of freshwater from rivers, R, and/or precipitation, P. Alternatively, it may increase the average salt concentration in the bay compared to seawater if there is relatively little river input and high evaporation, E. Since freshwater input changes the salt concentration in the bay, and salt is a conservative material, it is possible to combine two steady state budgets for a bay, one for salt and one for water, to solve for the magnitude of the water flows that enter and exit the bay mouth. Students will make actual calculations for the inflow and outflow of water to Puget Sound, Washington and the Mediterranean Sea and compare them to actual measured values.

How Do We Estimate Magma Viscosity?
chuck connor
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to examine how magma viscosity varies with temperature, fraction of crystals, and water content using the non-Arrhenian VFT model.

Bubbles in Magmas
Module by Chuck Connor, University of South Florida, Tampa. This cover page by Ali Furmall, USF, now at U. Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet and apply the ideal gas law to model the velocity of a bubble rising in a viscous magma.

How Does Surface Deformation at an Active Volcano Relate to Pressure and Volume Change in the Magma Chamber?
Module by Peter LaFemina, Penn State, State College, PA. This cover page by Ali Furmall, University of South Florida, now at University of Oregon.
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet to examine and apply the Mogi model for horizontal and vertical surface displacement vs. depth and pressure conditions in the magma chamber.

Porosity and Permeability of Magmas
chuck connor
SSAC Physical Volcanology module. Students build a spreadsheet for an iterative calculation to find volume of bubbles and hence porosity, permeability and gas escape as a function of depth.

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