A Pennsylvania cliff, illustrating a cross section of the Critical Zone with trees, soil, and bedrock.
This module introduces methods used for investigations of the natural environment as well as human-induced changes to the environment such as perturbations to the hydrologic cycle, carbon and nutrient cycles and soil degradation. This module is part of a CZ Science course hosted by InTeGrate SERC.
Grades 15 -
Author(s): Susan Gill (Stroud Water Research Center) and Ashlee Dere (University of Nebraska - Omaha)
Funding: National Science Foundation–funded SERC InTeGrate project
Details for this Resource
This module presents basic scientific methods, such as literature searches and graphing (Unit 2.1) as well as Critical Zone specific methods, such as biogeochemistry, isotope geochemistry, geospatial investigation, and systems modeling (Unit 2.2), that will be used in later modules. The exercises presented in the two units are designed to introduce students to skills that they will build on in this course and in other geosciences courses.
Unit 2.1: Basic Tools and Analysis (Two 75 min class sessions)
Students will complete an annotated bibliography organized around a research question then, based on the literature search, will refine that research question.
Students will explore different means of data visualization and analysis to enhance the capacity to interpret different types of data.
Unit 2.2: Basic Critical Zone Concepts (Two 75 min class sessions, one of which is student presentations)
Students will be introduced to systems modeling as a means to understand Critical Zone processes.
Students will be introduced to geospatial techniques to situate sites and data in the Critical Zone.
Students will explore biogeochemistry and isotope geochemistry techniques that are used in Critical Zone research.