Connecting the Earth to Societal Challenges: New interdisciplinary materials from the InTeGrate project

Thursday 4:30pm-5:30pm Red Gym
Poster Session


Dave Gosselin, University of Nebraska at Lincoln
One of the central goals of the InTeGrate project is to extend and increase the incorporation of geoscience concepts into the teaching about current grand, Earth-related, societal challenges beyond traditional geoscience programs. The purpose of this presentation is to provide an overview of four, three-week modules and two-semester long courses that use an interdisciplinary approach to address one or more grand challenges facing society. These materials all have common design elements that are intended to: improve student understanding of the nature and methods of geoscience; develop geoscientific habits of mind; use authentic and credible geoscience data to learn central concepts in the context of geoscience methods of inquiry; and incorporate systems thinking.

The Map Your Hazards module, published in 2014, integrates interdisciplinary geoscience and social science methodologies to engage students in place-based exploration of natural hazards, social vulnerability, risk and community perception of natural hazards. The Water, Agriculture, and Sustainability module provides students practice in using qualitative and quantitative information to assess water resource management and consumption practices, with an emphasis on agricultural water use. The focus of the Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources module is to investigate ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. The Lead in the Environment module addresses the system dynamics of lead within the human body, individual households, and communities using data about human health risk, the built environment, and the geologic distribution of lead. The Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability course teaches basic geosciences principles through an exploration of environmentally sustainable technologies. The Critical Zone (CZ) Science course examines the CZ, Earth's evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms regulate the landscape and natural habitats, and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources, including food and water.