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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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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.

Is the New Madrid Seismic Zone at risk for a large earthquake?
Eliza Richardson, Penn State University - University Park
In this lesson we discuss the controversy regarding the extent of seismic risk in the central United States today. We learn how to estimate earthquake recurrence interval using a variety of methods. This lesson ...

How Fast Do Materials Weather?
Rebecca Teed, Wright State University-Main Campus
A think-pair-share activity in which students calculate weathering rates from tombstone weathering data. -

Investigation: When will there no longer be glaciers in Glacier National Park?
An Investigation Question activity developed by Carol Ormand, Wittenberg University.
Students use historical data on the extent of the Grinnell Glacier in Glacier National Park to estimate when the glacier will melt completely.

Flood Frequency and Risk Assessment
Carol Ormand, Carleton College
Students calculate recurrence intervals for various degrees of flooding based on historical data. Students then do a risk assessment for the surrounding community.

Analyzing the Antarctic Ozone Hole
LuAnn Dahlman
DATA: Total Ozone Mapping Spectrometer (TOMS) Images. TOOLS: ImageJ, Spreadsheet. SUMMARY: Animate and explore 10 years of Southern Hemisphere ozone images. Then measure and graph the area of the ozone hole over time.

Global Phosphorus Cycle
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College
Students create and modify a STELLA model of the global phosphorus cycle to test a number of scenarios.

Radioactive Decay and Geochronology
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College
Students create a STELLA model of the radioactive decay process.

A basic trilobite morphometric exercise
John Taylor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania-Main Campus
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

Two streams, two stories... How Humans Alter Floods and Streams
Eric Baer, Highline College
An activity/lab where students determine the changes in 100-year flood determinations for 2 streams over time.



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