InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Climate of Change
InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
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Climate of Change: Interactions and Feedbacks between Water, Air, and Ice

Intro-Level Cindy Shellito (University of Northern Colorado)
Becca Walker (Mt. San Antonio College)
6-Unit Cynthia Fadem (Earlham College)

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Jun 24, 2014

Summary

In this two to three week module, students explore short-term climate variability resulting from atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions. The module promotes awareness of past and contemporary cultures and regions strongly affected by permanently altered or increasingly uncertain climates as students consider human adaptation to climate fluctuations. Students investigate the dynamics and impacts associated with climate variability by examining and analyzing atmosphere, ocean, and ice data; completing a series of readings; and engaging in group discussions. Materials and teaching descriptions for gallery walks, interactive discussions, group work, and lab exercises are provided.

Strengths of the Module

This module has a positive focus on adaptations to climate change. Activities provide students opportunities to think locally, regionally, and globally. They drive thinking about climate change and social vulnerability. This leads to better informed citizens, empowered to make more responsible decisions. See an example adaptation activity.

Students use real, current ocean, atmosphere, and ice data to learn about climate change. Activities provide concrete ways to learn abstract concepts like uncertainty, anomalies, and feedback. Students consider questions about climate and society for which they can't Google the answer. See an example data-rich activity.

Activities get students out of their chairs. A diverse suite of activities (gallery walks, games, discussions, lab exercises, and small-group activities) provides students opportunities to be involved. This engages quieter students, and both professors and students have fun! See an example role-playing activity.

A great fit for courses in:

  • environmental science
  • meteorology
  • geology
  • oceanography
  • geological hazards
  • global change

This module is appropriate for introductory-level science and social science courses. The module is designed to stand alone and can be easily adapted to many class sizes and formats (large- or small-enrollment classes, online/distance learning courses, and interdisciplinary courses). To facilitate versatility, the module includes six individual units with lab/homework and short in-class activities. These individual units are also designed to stand alone. With some modification, the module could also be adapted to upper-division courses in those fields.

Supported NSF Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Big Idea 1: Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.

Supported NOAA Essential Principles of Climate Science:

2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system.

4. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling.

5. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and human-made processes.

6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.

7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Addressed grand challenges in earth and environmental science:

  • Recognizing the signal within the natural variability
  • Quantifying consequences, impacts, and effects
  • Effectively communicating uncertainty and relative risk

Addressed grand challenges in earth system science for global sustainability:

  • Determine how to anticipate, avoid, and manage disruptive global environmental change.
  • Determine institutional, economic, and behavioral changes to enable effective steps toward global sustainability.
  • Encourage innovation (and mechanisms for evaluation) in technological, policy, and social responses to achieve global sustainability.


Instructor Stories: How this module was adapted
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This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. The collection is freely available and ready to be adapted by undergraduate educators across a range of courses including: general education or majors courses in Earth-focused disciplines such as geoscience or environmental science, social science, engineering, and other sciences, as well as courses for interdisciplinary programs.
Explore the Collection »