Earth Science Lecture 3: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs and the Importance of Rare Events

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In this final lecture of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific exploration of the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. He explores the alternative hypotheses for the event that have been put forward over the years and provides examples of current supporting evidence. The lecture also emphasizes how dogma can be the enemy of scientific progress when it causes scientists to see what they expect to see instead of what the data actually shows. A lecture transcript and companion PowerPoint presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Earth Science Lecture 2: African Climate Change and Human Evolution

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In this second video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the evolution of the human brain and what makes humans, as a species, unique. He then explores the relationship between African climate change and turning points in human and other faunal evolution. The lecture emphasizes how scientists have used different types of evidence collection to support various hypotheses about the relationship between climate change and evolution and includes a discussion on the difference between correlation and causation. A lecture transcript and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

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Earth Science Lecture 1: Understanding the Global Warming Forecast: Our Past and Future Climate

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In this first lecture video of three in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific basis of our current understanding of climate change. He explores current and historical data sources about changes in the Earth’s temperature and greenhouse gas levels, and explains how they can be used to put together a picture of global warming. The lecture further emphasizes how the science of climate change has evolved over time and investigates possible solutions for dealing with global warming in the future. A lecture transcript and companion PowerPoint presentation are also available on FoSO.

Play video

Earth Science Lecture 3: The Extinction of the Dinosaurs and the Importance of Rare Events

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this last of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific exploration of the nature of the Cretaceous-Tertiary extinction event. He explores the alternative hypotheses for the event that have been put forward over the years and provides examples of current supporting evidence. The lecture also emphasizes how dogma can be the enemy of scientific progress when it causes scientists to see what they expect to see instead of what the data actually shows. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Earth Science Lecture 2: African Climate Change and Human Evolution

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this second of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the evolution of the human brain and what makes humans, as a species, unique. He then explores the relationship between African climate change and turning points in human and other faunal evolution. The lecture emphasizes how scientists have used different types of evidence collection to support various hypotheses about the relationship between climate change and evolution and includes a discussion on the difference between correlation and causation. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Earth Science Lecture 1: Understanding the Global Warming Forecast: Our Past and Future Climate

Discipline:
Resource type:

In this first of three lectures in the Frontiers of Science unit on climate change, Columbia University Professor Peter deMenocal discusses the scientific basis of our current understanding of climate change. He explores current and historical data sources about changes in the Earth’s temperature and greenhouse gas levels, and explains how they can be used to put together a picture of global warming. The lecture further emphasizes how the science of climate change has evolved over time and investigates possible solutions for dealing with global warming in the future. A lecture video and companion presentation are also available on FoSO.

Scale, Probability, Causation, and Correlation

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This assignment requires students to consider data related to how meteor impacts and volcanism may relate to mass extinction events. Students will apply their understanding of climate change and geophysics to answer questions based on published studies. They will also practice working with scientific notation, doing back of the envelope calculations and understanding scientific assumptions. This document serves as an answer key; a student handout is provided in an accompanying document.

Events at the K-T Boundary Layer in New Zealand: A Case Study

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In this class activity, students will investigate data on the fossil record at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. They will apply their understanding of geology, meteorology, and related disciplines in order to determine whether or not the fossil record supports a meteorite strike playing a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. This document contains student handouts; an instructor guide is provided in the accompanying documents.

Events at the K-T Boundary Layer in New Zealand: A Case Study

Discipline:

In this class activity, students will investigate data on the fossil record at the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary. They will apply their understanding of geology, meteorology, and related disciplines in order to determine whether or not the fossil record supports a meteorite strike playing a role in the extinction of the dinosaurs. This document serves as an instructor guide; student handouts are provided in an accompanying document.

Earth Science Seminar 3

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This document serves as a teaching guide for the third of three seminars in a unit on earth science. This seminar focuses on the relationship between the Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary and dinosaur extinctions and encourages review of scale, probability, causation, and correlation. The guide includes an overview and reading list. Related seminar activities and assignment questions are provided in accompanying files.