Monday Morning Meeting (II): Monitoring Mount St. Helens 2004 dome growth using authentic data
This jigsaw activity groups students first as volcano monitoring experts of either RSAM seismic data, earthquake locations, or GPS data, and then regroups students into interdisciplinary teams. The teams discuss volcano monitoring data collected prior to magmatic activity at Mount St. Helens in fall 2004, with the purpose of developing hypotheses about the volcanic activity. The structure of the activity is similar to the one using Pu'u O'o data, which also mimics weekly staff meetings held at the U.S. Geological Survey's Hawaii and Cascades Volcano Observatory.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Upper Division Volcanology course (geology majors): in class during the sixth week of a 15 minute term as the first activity associated with monitoring or use of seismic and GPS data.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Read and interpret a multidisciplinary set of volcano monitoring data for assessing volcanic activity and
Use multidisciplinary data to make a forecast for a potential eruption
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description and Teaching Materials
The exercise below is broken down into 6 phases and is organized on the basis of two 50- 75-minute class periods (although it can be expanded or contracted as needed for shorter or longer periods).
Intro: The "hook" (5-10 minutes). The exercise should start with the instructor telling the students that they are all employees at the Cascadian Volcano Observatory, and that the instructor is the Scientist-in-Charge of the Observatory. Then, the instructor should introduce the Monday Morning Meeting concept and its purpose at the Cascadian Volcano Observatory (a brief background about Mount St. Helens). A few photos and information about Mount St. Helens are provided in a PowerPoint file with activity introduction and information (PowerPoint 1.9MB Jul16 17) can serve as a "hook" that will jumpstart the exercise. The phase ends with an outline of the exercise, and the students will be informed of their responsibilities. The data that students will be examining will be from the 2004 explosive events leading up to the new dome growth. This ppt helps to set the stage of the history, the geography and the new dome growth.
Pre-readings for students assigned to GPS data is here (Acrobat (PDF) 246kB Jul16 17), and for students assigned earthquake locations and RSAM data are here (Acrobat (PDF) 1MB Jul16 17), both of which can also be used by students during class as needed.Phase 1: Discipline expert groups (15-20 minutes). Following the introduction, the instructor will divide the student population into three "expert" groups: 1) GPS data, 2) seismic (epicenter) data, and 3) seismic (RSAM) data. Each member of each group will be given a worksheet relevant to their data type (Student worksheets for disciplinary groups (Microsoft Word 43kB Jul16 17)) and data for the expert teams to analyze (Student data for disciplinary groups (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.3MB Jul16 17)). Questions on the worksheets will drive the discussion and exploration in the first part of the exercise. Each group will need access to the Internet or have the pages pre-printed for each discipline group. The groups will discuss the worksheet questions, using the suggested websites as a resource as needed, and each member of each group will record answers to the questions on the worksheet. By the end of the time period, each group should have formulated hypotheses about the current and possible future behavior of Mount St. Helens based on their specific data.
Phase 2: Interdisciplinary groups (20 minutes). Following the meeting of the disciplinary groups, the instructor will again divide the student population into interdisciplinary groups, with each new group containing at least one member of each previous disciplinary group (in other words, each new interdisciplinary group will have a GPS expert, a seismic epicenter expert and a seismic RSAM expert). The interdisciplinary group discussion will begin with each discipline "expert" taking ~1 minute to tell the rest of the group what their data are used for, the advantages and disadvantages of that data type, and their interpretation of the data based on the conclusions of the disciplinary group. After all the discipline experts in the interdisciplinary groups have presented to their colleagues, discussion should focus on developing an interpretation of what is happening at Mount St. Helens that satisfies all data types. A new worksheet (Interdisciplinary Worksheet (Microsoft Word 37kB Jul16 17)) will be given to all students and will drive the discussion. At this stage, each small group is essentially holding a mini-Monday Morning Meeting. Each student must fill out a worksheet.
Phase 3: Report-back (10-20 minutes, varies depending on class size and report-back format). Each group will present their findings to the rest of the class, and to the Scientist-in-Charge (i.e., the instructor). This could be done in several ways, for example: the first group could present their interpretation, and each subsequent group could build on the hypotheses of the previous (explaining whether or not they agree and why, presenting alternative viewpoints, and pointing out aspects of the data that might not otherwise have been covered); or, each group could interpret a different time period within the dataset.
Phase 4: Wrap-up (10-15 minutes). The class period ends with an instructor-led discussion of the activity that is occurring at Mount St. Helens, the value of multiple independent datasets for geologic investigations (using the advantages and disadvantages that were discussed in the groups as a means of demonstrating that there is no "magic bullet" in geologic investigations), the process of scientific investigation, and the challenges in using and interpreting real-time data. If no written report is required, each student will turn in their two worksheets at the end of the class period. If a report is required, the students will take the worksheets home to aid with the report writing. Instructor can show data from present day and compare to the amount of data available in 2004 as a comparison. Students can be asked to interpret present day conditions as an alternate to a larger class report out as well. For those students living within the Cascades region (and even if not), it may be instructive to show instrumentation on less active volcanoes as a point of comparison. For example, after examining the GPS and seismic data available for Mount St. Helens, it is a bit shocking for students to see data from Mt. Baker, which by comparison has no GPS units and two seismographs monitored by University of Washington.
Teaching Notes and Tips
- When taught in a 24 person class, expert groups were broken up into groups of 3 and then re-convened for groups of 6 prior to meeting with the interdisciplinary teams to assure confidence in their data interpretation (particularly important with introductory students.
- For the more adventurous faculty, you could combine the VEPP MMM activity (https://nagt.org/nagt/teaching_resources/vepp/examples/48383.html) so that half of the class is analyzing data from MSH and the other from Pu'u 'O'o, after interdisciplinary groups in the specific kind of volcano convene, then the class can share out their interpretations and findings for each volcano, which can then lead to a class discussion about the best/most optimal data for each type of volcano.
- Data analysis: In a quiz/exam or as an assignment, have students look at most current data to determine the likely activity (or non-activity) of a given stratovolcano in the Cascades.
- Interdisciplinary worksheet: Instructor can collect the interdisciplinary worksheet from students
- Writing Activity: Students read a scientific article Dzurisin et al., 2005 describing the real outcome of the magmatic activity, to which they compare their own interpretation in a short written paper. A template for this assignment is here (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 15kB Jul16 17).
- Optional written report: Each student will write a report as if they were a volcanologist at the observatory summarizing their interpretations of the activity at Mount St. Helens for the Scientist-in-Charge (i.e., the instructor). The text of the report should include a summary and interpretations of each data type, figures supporting those interpretations, an overall hypothesis about volcanic activity at Mount St. Helens for the time period explored.
References and Resources
Dzurisin, D, Vallance, JW, Gerlach, TM, Moran, SC, Malone, SD, 2005, Mount St. Helens reawakens, Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 86.3 (2005): 25-29.This activity can be used in parallel with the VEPP MMM activity, available here