07 Jul 2020

07 Jul 2020

Review status: a revised version of this preprint is currently under review for the journal GC.

Introducing Electronic Circuits and Hydrological Models to Postsecondary Physical Geography and Environmental Science Students: Systems Science, Circuit Theory, Construction and Calibration

Nicholas J. Kinar1,2,3,4 Nicholas J. Kinar
  • 1Smart Water Systems Lab, University of Saskatchewan
  • 2Global Institute for Water Security, University of Saskatchewan
  • 3Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan
  • 4Department of Geography and Planning, University of Saskatchewan

Abstract. A classroom activity involving the construction, calibration and testing of electronic circuits was introduced to an advanced hydrology class at the postsecondary level. Two circuits were constructed by students: (1) a water detection circuit; and (2) a hybrid relative humidity (RH)/air temperature sensor and pyranometer. Along with 3D printing of watersheds, the circuits motivated concepts of systems science, models in hydrology, and calibration. Students used the circuits to collect data useful for providing inputs to mathematical models of hydrological processes. Each student was given the opportunity to create a custom hydrological model within the context of the class. This is an example of constructivist teaching where students engage in the creation of meaningful knowledge and the instructor serves as a facilitator to assist students in the achievement of a goal. Analysis of student-provided feedback showed that the circuit activity motivated, engaged and facilitated learning. Students also found the activity to be a novel and enjoyable experience. The theory of circuit operation and calibration is provided along with a complete bill of materials (BOM) and design files for replication of this activity in other postsecondary classrooms. Student suggestions for improvement of the circuit activity are presented along with additional applications.

Nicholas J. Kinar

Status: final response (author comments only)
Status: final response (author comments only)
AC: Author comment | RC: Referee comment | SC: Short comment | EC: Editor comment
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Nicholas J. Kinar

Data sets

Feedback data collected for student activity Nicholas J. Kinar and the University of Saskatchewan Geography and Planning Advanced Hydrology Class of 2019

Model code and software

Microcontroller code, bill-of-materials (BOM) and associated circuit design files Nicholas J. Kinar

Nicholas J. Kinar


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Short summary
Postsecondary advanced hydrology students often work with electronic sensing systems at field sites but are rarely given the opportunity to build and test electronic circuits used for collection of environmental data. Students constructed custom-designed circuits for water detection and environmental measurement. The circuits taught students about systems theory and hydrological models. This activity motivated learning and showed how circuits are used to collect data for model application.