A data-intensive research project on the climate history of Africa has been made part of an introductory college-level earth-science course. The project introduces students to the challenge of working with real data as student teams analyze and interpret extended records of monthly rainfall and average temperature for stations across Africa with the goal of defining regional climate patterns and assessing evidence regarding climate change. The exercise emphasizes quantitative skills in data manipulation and statistical analysis within a framework of critical thinking, decision making, oral and written communication, and collaborative participation. The social context of the project is apparent immediately to the students, but the scientific context requires additional input from the instructor. The project has been carried out in classes with up to 100 non-science students and is a successful vehicle for engaging African-American students in the geosciences. It can also readily be adapted for use in high-school earth-science classes.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)