Identify Pressing Environmental Issues
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.
Course: Environmental Geology
In order to start students thinking about the course materials, to set a tone that the course will be one of discussion and active participation, and to work toward building community on our commuter campus, I ask students to do the following:
- Introduce yourself to your two nearest neighbors
- Make a list of the top three local environmental problems
- Make a list of the top three global environmental problems
After the students discuss these topics in small groups for about 5 minutes, we make a list on the board of volunteered student responses and discuss how they fit into the topics we'll cover in Environmental Geology.
I think there are several valuable aspects of this exercise:
- It help students think outside of the box - for instance, students bring up a broad range of issues, including war. Most students don't think about the environmental impacts of war. So this exercise stretches their brains.
- It helps students identify something they care about, which usually translates into them feeling more invested in the class.
- It serves to raise student awareness of local issues, which they may not have heard about, but which they look forward to learning about later on in the class.