Across science and engineering fields, the demand for skills in analysis and synthesis of publicly available datasets is increasingly common. In many ways, Earth and environmental sciences are undergoing an "informatics" revolution, with networks of sensors and people generating unprecedented amounts of data at a range of spatial and temporal scales. Today's information technology provides many new mechanisms for students collecting, manipulating, and aggregating data. In addition, large on-line data repositories provide the opportunity for totally new kinds of student experiences and provide a valuable link between ongoing research and the classroom.
Activities Using Federal Data
Stream Discharge Module
- Students use USGS Hydrologic Benchmark Network data to investigate stream discharge, floods, and urbanization.
Crops and Irrigation Patterns
- Using USDA data tables and USGS irrigation water withdrawal data, students quantitatively assess crop irrigation across the US.
Spectral Seismology Module
- Engages students using seismic and acoustic signals available through Incorporated Research Institutes for Seismology (IRIS) in the manual manipulation of waveforms.
Oil Demand and Consumption
- Using data from the Energy Information Administration in the Department of Energy, students create models of future oil demand and predict the time frame when cumulative oil demand exceeds oil reserves.
Characterizing groundwater storage with well and GRACE data
- Students gain experience analyzing traditional and geodetic data for monitoring changes in groundwater storage in the High Plains Aquifer.
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Projects Using Federal Data
Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness Network (CLEAN)
- A collection of ~700 free, ready-to-use resources rigorously reviewed by educators and scientists and are aligned to the NGSS.
- A curricular sequence for learning Earth system concepts through data analysis activities, satellite imagery and computer visualizations, and hands-on experiments.
InTeGrate Interdisciplinary Teaching about Earth for a Sustainable Future
- STEP Center curricular materials make use of authentic and credible geoscience data to teach central concepts in the context of geoscience methods of inquiry.
GEodesy Tools for Societal Issues (GETSI)
- Teaching materials feature geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.
Environmental, Data-Driven Inquiry and Exploration (EDDIE)
- Flexible classroom modules that utilize large, long-term, high-frequency and sensor-based datasets.
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