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Inquiry-Based, Hands-On Educational Activities

These activities were submitted by participants in sessions at the2005 North Central GSA meeting and at the 2005 AGU Fall Meeting on Inquiry-Based, Hands-On Classroom Exercises, Lab Demonstrations, and Field Investigations in Geoscience Education. The sessions were sponsored by the Central Section of the NAGT.

Download the workshop report (Microsoft Word 38kB Jan23 06) from the workshop at the North Central GSA meeting.


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Extra Terrestrial Plate Tectonics part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students decide whether plate tectonics is operating on another planet in our solar system. Requires students to integrate and process a large array of visual data regarding plate tectonic processes. Students feel ...

Understanding the Carbon Cycle: A Jigsaw Approach part of Teaching Materials Collection
In this "jigsaw" exercise, each student is assigned one of five geochemical processes in the carbon cycle to research, fully understand, and then explain to others in groups of five. At the end of class ...

Where's the volcanic threat? part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students investigate Costa Rican volcanic hazards using (a) the amount of silica in volcanic rocks, (b) a highly-simplified geologic map and (c) a satellite image of Costa Rican night time illumination (i.e., human ...

The Quaternary Glacio-Fluvial History of the Upper Midwest Using Anaglyph Stereo Maps part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students examine the anaglyph stereo map (with red/cyan glasses) and use textures to generate a surficial geology map of the Upper Midwest. They can then interpret the textures in terms of landforms, geomorphic ...

Investigating slope failure and landscape evolution with red beans and rice! part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students investigate the behavior of a slope profile over geological timescales using a very simple experimental apparatus. The lab allows students to understand concepts of equilibrium, controls on slope profile, ...

A River Through Time: Managing the Upper Mississippi River part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students explore river processes by following the Army Corps of Engineers' historic efforts to 'improve' the Mississippi River channel for navigation. Students design a river management scheme of ...

Modeling Glacier Dynamics with Flubber part of Teaching Materials Collection
We created a hands-on activity for middle and high school students that describes glacier mass balance in a changing climate. The students make a glacier using glue, water and detergent ("flubber") and ...

Variable Rivers part of Teaching Materials Collection
This is a tabletop river activity. Students work in small groups to test an isolated variable; they will test either amount of water, velocity, or steepness of the riverbed to see how it affects a river's ...

A Kinesthetic Demonstration for Locating Earthquake Epicenters part of Teaching Materials Collection
A kinesthetic activity for students to understand the technique for locating the epicenter of an earthquake. It is performed indoors and outdoors in three lessons.

Modeling the Effects of Dam Removal on the Elwha River part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students are introduced to the social and scientific issues surrounding the removal of the Glines Canyon Dam on the Elwha River, and conduct a hands-on experiment with real-world application to observe the effects ...