Exploring the Ocean Environment: GIS Investigations for the Earth Sciences

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EXPLORING THE OCEAN ENVIRONMENT is the latest in a series of GIS Investigation Guides for the Earth Sciences, developed by The SAGUARO Project team. These Guides are designed to be modular, with instructor flexibility in mind, and are recommended for use either as a component of the regular laboratory sessions or as homework assignments. Each of the Guides in the SAGUARO GIS Investigations series leads students in "active learning" through a set of exercises in which students are asked to first explore, then analyze, and finally elaborate on the information from a robust GIS dataset using ArcView GIS software. This investigation guide lets even novice users tap the power of ArcView GIS to explore, manipulate, and analyze scientific data, while minimizing the need to master a complex software package. By focusing on teaching with GIS rather than about it, this flexible teaching resource motivates and enables students to "learn by doing." The GIS information has been preprocessed into ready-to-use maps and legends, and some ArcView procedures have been automated to allow students to focus primarily on the science content. Extensive classroom testing of these GIS Investigations has shown a 10-17 percent increase in student understanding of subject content and spatial skills over traditional methods. Each copy of the text includes a CD containing unlimited access to the SAGUARO projects and data, and a FREE 120-day time-locked version of the ArcView software to allow students to complete the investigations at home. An extensive Instructor's Manual provides assistance for instructors on incorporating GIS activities into the classroom.

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The Ocean Basins
Ocean Currents
5 Stopping the flow

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About the author (2005)

C. Scott Walker is with Harvard University.

Larry Kendall is an independent consultant.

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