InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Soils, Systems, and Society
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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These materials are part of a 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 materials are free 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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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: Jan 18, 2016

Summary

This inquiry based module is designed for use in a preservice K-8 science methods course, but Units 1-3 could easily be modified for other types of courses. The module promotes geoscientific and systems thinking and emphasizes strong interdisciplinary connections between science content and society through locally relevant issues. This module consists of course discussions, map analysis, hands-on soil investigations, concept mapping of Earth systems, and the development of a standards-aligned K-8 Soils, Systems, and Society Kit composed of lesson plans, data sources, activities and artifacts for use in future elementary and middle school classrooms.

Strengths of the Module

Students who learn with this module will:
  • Develop a deeper understanding of the process of science and how to foster that understanding in their students
  • Engage in a data-rich activity that is well-aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)
  • Connect scientific investigations of soil with societal issues
  • Develop a set of lessons that they can take into their classrooms in the future
In working with data, students will:
  • Collect and interpret several different types of data about soils
  • Analyze, interpret, and compare spatially distributed data

Supported Next Generation Science Standards:

Performance expectation: 5-ESS2-1. Develop a model using an example to describe ways the geosphere, biosphere, hydrosphere, and/or atmosphere interact.
Science and engineering practices: Analyzing and interpreting data
Cross-cutting concepts: Systems and system models; patterns
Disciplinary core ideas: ESS2.D Weather and climate, ESS3.D Global climate change
Connections to nature of science: Scientific investigations use a variety of methods

Supported Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Big idea 7: Humans depend on Earth for resources.
  • Big idea 9: Humans significantly alter the Earth.

Supported Essential Principles of Climate Science:

  • Essential principle 7: Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

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.

A great fit for courses in:

  • Elementary science methods*
  • Earth science education
  • Secondary science methods
  • Introductory soil science
  • Environmental studies
  • Nature of science

This module is designed for courses in Elementary Science Teaching Methods. Most colleges and universities that offer majors in elementary education have such a course. Methods courses are taught commonly by faculty from a college/department of education (science education specialists), but may also be taught by disciplinary education specialists from science departments. The course typically focuses on instructional strategies appropriate for elementary school science and usually includes designing (and sometimes teaching) instructional units. The course is usually taken after students have completed their disciplinary coursework and before student teaching. Students in elementary science methods courses typically are under-prepared in science content. This module is meant to help them envision themselves as scientists in their own classroom using a topic and materials that are literally available absolutely everywhere.



Instructor Stories: How this module was adapted
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These materials are part of a 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 »