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Using GIS to Support Learning About

Environmental Issues

Meridith Bruozas
Northwestern University
GEODE Initiative
Evanston, IL
Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative
Topographic Maps

Montana, Idaho, Wyoming


Quadrangle (Hebgen Lake)
http://erg.usgs.gov/isb/pubs/booklets/usgsmaps/usgsm
aps.html#Topographic%20Maps

Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative


Maps Displaying Historical Trends

Distribution of Historic Tornados 1950 - 1995


http://www.esri.com/mapmuseum/mapbook_gallery/volume18/education5.html

Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative


Road Maps

State of Illinois
http://www.lib.utexas.edu/maps/us_2001/illinois_ref_
2001.jpg

Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative


What is GIS and How Can It Help Support
Learning in Environmental and Earth Science?

GIS - Geographic Information Systems

It creates an interactive visualization where the user


can query (ask questions) the data projected in the
visualization.

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Why Use GIS Technology?

• support students in working on scientific problems that use


authentic data.
•give students opportunities to work with concepts at a deeper
and more meaningful level. (ex. visual representations)
• allow students to have direct interaction with natural
phenomena.
•introduce students to concepts in a clear way.
•give students skills that can be used outside of school and
in the workplace.
Edelson, D. Northwestern

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General Curriculum Strategies

One Strategy - to focus on using GIS to teach


students a tool or skill.

Another Strategy - to use GIS to support learning


of a scientific concept that supports scientific
discourse.

Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative


Curricular Example
Problem Posed - A growing mid-western community needs
to generate more electricity and build another coal burning
power plant.
Motivation (Need What students Technology Used Reason for
to know learn selecting this
something technology
about…)
How much electricity What’s the avg. US Excel Spreadsheet Calculate household
do we need to supply household energy energy use &
to this community? consumption? compare to avg.US.

What type of energy Burning of coal


does this community ----------------------------- -----------------------------
already use?
What makes up a The various parts of Virtual Power Plant To support student
coal burning power a power plant and Tour understanding of the
plant? what they do. parts of a power
plant.
What does a power The science To model the direct &
plant need? concepts that make a Power plant model indirect relationships
power plant run. within the model.
Where can we place What factors to GIS software Best way to ask
this power plant in consider when questions of large
our community? finding a location. amounts of info.
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Curricular Example

Context - Students are asked to do a P/O/E using


real world data about temperatures around the world.

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Contact Information

Meridith Bruozas
m-bruozas@northwestern.edu
This power point presentation and handouts
are available on our website at…
http://www.geode.northwestern.edu/investigations
Software Downloads are available at
http://www.geode.northwestern.edu

GEODE Initiative
Northwestern University
Please do not distribute without permission from the GEODE Initiative