What Killed the Dinosaurs?
Definitive answers to some of life's most enduring questions are often difficult or impossible to come by. However, scientific processes piece together the information that is available as a way of providing alternative explanations for a wide variety of phenomena. This interactive activity from the Evolution Web site outlines the evidence gathered to explain what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. It proposes four possible hypotheses and invites you to consider the evi
A news camera captured this video excerpt of a 1965 voting rights demonstration, from People's Century: "Skin Deep".
The Celts - Quiz
To revise facts about the Celts
"Nobody Would Eat Kraut": Lola Gamble Clyde on Anti-German Sentiment in Idaho During World War I
When the United States went to war against Germany in 1917, German Americans faced vicious and unfair attacks on their loyalty. Many anti-German incidents were not recorded, but they lived on powerfully in people's memories. In this 1976 interview, Lola Gamble Clyde, the daughter of an Irish-born Presbyterian minister and a teenager during World War I, described the "hysteria" that faced German Americans in rural Latah County, Idaho.
Volcanoes of other worlds
Volcanoes of Other Worlds explores and compares volcanism on other planets. What do we know about plate tectonics on other planets? Planetary bodies highlighted include the Earth's Moon, Mars, Venus and Jupiter's moon Io. Users can also link to Volcano World, an excellent web-source of volcano information.
Chronos: a network for Earth system history
CHRONOS (Greek: time) aims to create a dynamic, interactive and time-calibrated framework for Earth history. CHRONOS's main objective is to develop a network of databases and visualization and analytical methodologies that broadly deal with chronostratigraphy - that is, with developing a better tool (the time scale) for understanding fundamental Earth processes through time. The CHRONOS platform will provide a new investigative environment for interdisciplinary Earth history research that includ
The Use of a Piece of Land
The Use of a Piece of Land activity was developed by The Maine State Library. This activity engages students in a practical exercise in land use planning and makes students aware of the positive and negative aspects of land use laws and local zoning ordinances through role-playing. The students represent groups interested in purchasing the same piece of land. Each group must research to devise a plan that is legal and environmentally attractive, and present proposals to convince the current owne
Using Investigative Cases in Geoscience
This website provides an overview of using investigative cases as teaching tools in geoscience. The site is part of the Starting Point: Teaching Entry Level Geoscience project. Information includes a description of how cases serve as springboards to student-designed investigations and how cases engage students and faculty in collaborative problem posing, problem solving, and persuasion.
Rocks and Weathered Rocks
In this lab, students examine what happens when rocks weather, how different minerals weather at different rates, and what the ultimate byproducts are. This website builds context for lab use, details the learning goals and teaching notes, provides teaching materials and lab assessment recommendations, and additional references and resources.
Human Impacts on Sharks: Developing an Essay Through Peer-Review on a Discussion Board
Through computer technology (WebCT, Blackboard), students develop a paper topic (in this case, the human impacts on sharks) that is peer reviewed by additional students answering guided questions. This Starting Point page details the learning goals, context of use, teaching materials, and assessment method for this activity. Also included are useful references and resources and topics discussed.
Wingra Marsh: A Purple Population Problem
This case study is part of the Starting Point module. The activity requires students to author a presentation to the Grounds Management Committee of their school. Students must give their recommendation for the control of the invasive species purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) on the Edgewood College campus. Users can find a variety of information related to this case study including learning goals, teaching tips, notes and materials, assessment ideas, references, a context for use and a lis
Developing a Local Stratigraphy
In this lab activity students describe rock types in a variety of exposures to construct a regional stratigraphy. Learning goals, teaching notes and materials, equipment lists, and assessment recommendations are all provided on this website. Additionally, there are links to useful references and resources, including related field labs.
The Nancy Creek Challenge
The Nancy Creek Challenge is part of the Starting Point module. The Case study requires students to examine fish kill in Nancy Creek and identify the environmental conditions that favor life in a fresh water ecosystem. Students will work in small groups to assess the situation. The group will be allowed to gather resources from various places in an effort to develop a possible solution for the situation. The page also contains information regarding learning goals, context for use, teaching notes
Rio Grande Wildlife Refuge
This investigative case is part of the Starting Point module. In this exercise students role play as professional ecologists working for the fish and wildlife service. Students must develop a plan to manage a new wildlife refuge along the Rio Grande River. The fish and wildlife service plans to connect forest islands along the river, which will become not only a new refuge but also a "wildlife corridor." Users can access information regarding learning goals, context for use, teaching notes and t
"Adopt an Outcrop"
In this lab, each student or small student group "adopts" a different outcrop or road cut, describing and interpreting both the outcrop scale features and hand specimens. This website provides a context for the use of this lab, and describes learning goals, teaching notes and assessment. It also includes downloadable handouts and other teaching materials.
In this Starting Point case study, students will explore wetland hydrology and biology. They will decide whether or not to restore a wetland or retain dams and drainage systems. Students will also examine the complexity of decisions regarding wetland restoration as well as investigate viewpoints of various stakeholders in the draining of wetlands. While the activity is set in Missouri, the case can apply to any wetland conservation or restoration project. Users can access information regarding l
Studying Aquifers in Outcrop
In this field lab, students describe two (or more) different rock types in outcrop, with an emphasis on the hydrogeologic properties of the rocks. Students are asked to draw sketches, take notes and ask questions about the how water may move through a rock unit . This website describes the learning goals and context use of the lab, and provides an equipment list, teaching notes and materials, a recommended method of assessment, and links to useful references and resources.
Reducing Volcanic Hazards to People and Property - An Assignment with Electronic Peer Review
Through an electronic peer review assignment, students write a general summary of major hazards to humans in the vicinity of volcanoes. Then, students are provided a list of volcanoes and must choose one to determine what actions they would take to minimize the risks to a population. This activity is detailed on this Starting Point site, which includes its learning goals, context for use, teaching notes and materials, recommended assessment method, resources, and references.
Planetary Climate Exercise
This MS Word document explains roles for a Planetary Climate role-playing exercise dealing with the atmospheres of Venus and the Earth. Roles include experts on coal, carbon dioxide, heat balance, spectroscopy, atmospheric transmission and the water cycle.
How fast do materials weather?
In the activities described on this website, instructors giving a lecture on weathering ask students to calculate weathering rates from tombstone weathering data from urban and rural settings. The Starting Point site includes downloadable teaching materials, information on learning goals and context for the exercise, and links to useful resources and references.