Climate of Change
InTeGrate's Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage student 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 »

Climate of Change: Interactions and Feedbacks Between Water, Air, and Ice

Cindy Shellito (University of Northern Colorado)
Becca Walker (Mt San Antonio College)
Cynthia Fadem (Earlham College)

Summary

In this 2-3 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 provides opportunities to change the way you teach about climate change! It can be adapted for use in large and small-enrollment courses at different institution types, and instructors have the option to use the entire module or implement individual activities and materials into the existing curriculum:

  • This module has a positive focus on data and adaptations to climate change
    Activities provide students opportunities to think locally, regionally, and globally. They drive thinking about climate change and social vulnerability, which leads to better informed citizens who are empowered to make more responsible decisions.

  • 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 are motivated to conduct quantitative analyses because of a societally pressing problem (that may have personal/cultural relevance). Students consider questions about climate and society for which they can't Google the answer.

  • It gets students out of their chairs
    A diverse suite of activity types (gallery walks, games, discussions, lab exercises and small group activities) provide students opportunities to be involved. This engages quieter students, and both professors and students have fun!

Explore the Teaching Materials »

Context

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 6 individual units with lab/homework and short in-class activities. These individual units are also designed to stand alone. The module and 6 individual units are appropriate for inclusion in introductory environmental science, meteorology, geology, oceanography, geological hazards, and global change courses. 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 man-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.


Case Studies: How this module was adapted
for use at several institutions »




This module is part of a growing collection of classroom-tested modules and courses developed by InTeGrate. The materials engage student 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 »


      Next Page »