Our Dynamic Planet

by William Prothero
Department of Geological Sciences,
University of California, Santa Barbara, Santa Barbara, CA. 93106
Funded by NSF Division of Undergraduate Education
and UCSB Office of Instructional Developmen


This CD-ROM consists of tools for learner investigations of data that support the theory of Plate Tectonics. A companion teacher’s manual discusses elements of a science investigation, how to write a science paper, how to use the software, and gives examples of  investigations that can be performed.  Data are accessible through a point and click interface with extensive online help. This CD is used in W. Prothero’s Introductory Oceanography course to engage students in the process of posing a research question, sampling and selecting data, making an interpretation, and writing up the results in science paper format.

Modules: Getting Started, Virtual Plate Tectonics Lecture (30 minute animated plate tectonics video), Geography Game, Profile Game, MAP data display, and Graphics Workshop image editing and printing tool.

Data on MAP: ETOPO5 elevations, seafloor and island ages, earthquakes,  volcanoes, oceanic heat flow, volcano and landform images and movies. Detailed DEM data and images are available for selected East Pacific Rise (9N) and Mid-Atlantic Ridge study areas.

Display: Point and click on a scaleable, scrollable world map. Quakes may be plotted in map or section view, heat flow data are accessed by clicking, or as a profile. Images and movies are accessed by clicking. Elevations on an arbitrary student-selected great circle path are plotted on the map, and in a special profile window.

Help functions: Online “Guide”, and special help screens make it extremely easy for students to master. The automatically scored geography  and profile games teach students to interpret and visualize the information they see on the screen.

Optional Class Management: There are a number of options for logging student  game scores and activities.

Support at: http://earthednet.org

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