Teach the Earth

The Teach the Earth collection from the Science Education Resource Center (SERC) contains a broad range of resources supporting effective geoscience education. The collection spans middle school through graduate level with a special emphasis on undergraduate education. It includes thematic foci such as teaching quantitative skills, integrating current geoscience research into education, preparing K-12 earth science teachers, and teaching with data.

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Active Learning and Lasting Impacts: Reflective Writing in a Field-Based Geobotany Course for Teachers
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In this upper-division, week-long, residential field geobotany course for K-12 in-service and pre-service teachers, participants make observations and interpretations in both the field and lab every day. At the end of each day, participants write about their experiences, self-confidence, and perceived competence as an amateur scientist during a reflective writing exercise, for which instructors provide feedback each evening.

Subject:
Education
Life Science
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Amy Ellwein
Ages of Rocks and the Earth
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This activity introduces students to the mathematics of radiometric dating. Students first apply the rubidium-strontium isotopic system to date rock samples from the San Juan Mountains of southwest Colorado, and then to date a meteorite and estimate the absolute age of the Earth.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Steven Semken
Tracy Perkins
Air-sea Interactions: Activities in Oceanography
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This online set of activities help students learn properties of ocean waves, wind-wave relationships and properties of tsunamis.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Diagram/Illustration
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Steve LaDochy
Albian fossils of the Anglo-Parisien basin
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This illustrated guide to Albian (Cretaceous) fossils provides an extensive photo collection of fossils from the Anglo-Parisian basin. Additional information, high resolution photos and illustrations can be accessed by clicking the fossil icons located on the globe, the time scale or along the top of the page. Although the site is written in French, a non-French-speaking visitor will find this page easy to navigate and the photos well worth the visit. Fauna featured on this site include ammonites, nautiloids, belemnites, gastropods, crusteceans, echinoderms, marine vertebrates and corals.

Subject:
Life Science
Geoscience
Material Type:
Diagram/Illustration
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Jolly David
Analog and Numerical Models of Hillslope Diffusion
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This problem illustrates how numerical theories are developed, how we might test this theory with an analog model, and how numerical models are constructed and the limitations of numerical modeling.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Gregory Hancock
Applications of Vector Operators for Surface Atmospheric/Oceanic Processes
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This lab exercise provides students with activities utilizing vector operations within the context of the atmospheric and oceanic environments.

Subject:
Life Science
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
David R Smith
Are You in a Hotspot?
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This activity is a PowerPoint module designed to help students differentiate hotspot island chains from volcanic island arc systems. Using map images, students are asked to describe and differentiate the topography and geologic features of the two tectonic settings.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Assessing the Error of Linear and Planar Field Data Using Fisher Statistics
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Instruction on use of Fisher statistics to determine the mean and 95% confidence interval of geological vectors, lines or planes, with examples, problems and an Excel spreadsheet for computation.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Data Set
Lecture Notes
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Vincent S. Cronin
Atmospheric vertical structure and the First Law of Thermodynamics
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This set of homework problems is intended to help students begin to discover the importance and utility of conservation principles derived from the First Law of Thermodynamics and provide a first step in evolving from the p-V diagrams the students have seen in their physics coursework toward the thermodynamic diagrams used in meteorology.

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Assessment
Lecture Notes
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Anthony R. Hansen
Back of the Envelope Calculations
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Many numbers that we use in the geosciences are outside a student's frame of reference and personal experience. Using back-of-the envelope calculations that help put very large or very small numbers into perspective by analogy with something a student can visualize can accomplish a number of things.

Subject:
Geoscience
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Back of the Envelope Calculations: Age of the Earth
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Question The Earth is about 4.6 billion years old. Let's try to get a perspective on how long that really is. Suppose that you decided to count to 4.6 billion and that you counted 1 number every second. How long would it take you to count how old you are? How long would it take you to count the following numbers of years? 5,500 years (since construction of the pyramids at Giza) 700,000 years (since the earliest appearance of archaic Homo sapiens) 66,000,000 years (since the extinction of the dinosaurs) 545,000,000 years (since the first abundant evidence of animals with hard parts) 4,600,000,000 years (since the birth of the Earth)

Subject:
Geoscience
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Barb Tewksbury
Back of the Envelope Calculations: Approaching Asteroid
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Question If asteroids careen through the solar system at 25 km/second, how far away would we have to detect one in order to have a year's notice to prepare for an impact, as was portrayed in the movie Deep Impact? How far away is that relative to the planets in our solar system?

Subject:
Geoscience
Space Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Barb Tewksbury
Back of the Envelope Calculations: Collision with Asteroid
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We have located an asteroid heading directly for the Earth. It is now 1.6 million km away from the Earth, about 4 times the distance from the Earth to the Moon. The asteroid is travelling at 25 km/second. How long will it be from the time of discovery at a distance of 1.6 million kilometers to impact on the Earth?

Subject:
Geoscience
Space Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Barb Tewksbury
Back of the Envelope Calculations: Communication with Mars
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Suppose you were living in a Mars colony, and you wanted to call home to your parents on Earth. You say, "Hello! How are you?" How long do you have to wait until you hear them say, "We're fine! How are you?"

Subject:
Geoscience
Physics
Space Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Barb Tewksbury
Back of the Envelope Calculations: Comparing Jupiter with Earth
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Below, you'll see a drawing of Jupiter showing the Great Red Spot, as well as several of the dark scars, like enormous black eyes, left as a result of the impact of fragments of the comet Shoemaker-Levy in 1994. If you were to cut out a circle that represented the Earth at the same scale, how big would you make the circle?

Subject:
Geoscience
Space Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab
Provider:
Science Education Resource Center (SERC) at Carleton College
Provider Set:
Teach the Earth
Author:
Barb Tewksbury