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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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Simulating Satellite Orbits and Atmospheric Drag part of Teaching Materials Collection
Physics students are intrigued by activities in space. To link this natural curiosity with solid problem-solving skills, we developed a spreadsheet simulation for satellites moving through an atmosphere of variable ...

The Earth's Heat Budget part of Teaching Materials Collection
Hands-on laboratory activity that allows students to investigate the effects of distance and angle on the input of solar radiation at the Earth's surface; the role played by albedo; and the heat capacity of ...

Discovering Plate Boundaries part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students work collaboratively using data maps to discover plate tectonic boundary processes. Data sets used are earthquakes, volcanos, seafloor age, and topography. The authors below have submitted variations of ...

Variable Rivers part of Teaching Materials Collection
This activity is designed to be used as an introduction to rivers and river processes. Students will be working in small groups to test an isolated variable in rivers; they will test either the amount of water, ...

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 ...

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 ...

Mentos and soda eruptions- lessons on explosive volcanic eruptions part of Teaching Materials Collection
Students participate in a popular experiment with Mentos candies and soda. This helps them learn about the scientific method, gas saturation, bubble nucleation, and explosive volcanic eruptions.

Pressure-melting of ice: demonstration part of Teaching Materials Collection
Pressure-melting of ice, which is responsible for many aspects of glacier-bed process, is demonstrable in a standard class period at effectively no cost of time or $.

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, ...

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