Initial Publication Date: December 10, 2020

Using the Project EDDIE Climate Change Module in 'Introduction to Environmental Studies'

Melissa Hage, Emory University

About this Course

Introduction to Environmental Studies

Lecture and Lab

Introductory Undergraduate

Majors and Non-Majors

students in the course

EDDIE Module(s) Adopted and/or Adapted

Climate Change Module

Current climate change is affecting many aspects of the environment, with socio-economic consequences. For example, a warmer climate can allow new diseases to be introduced and persist (e.g. West Nile became established in the United States after an unusually warm winter allowed the mosquitos that carry the virus to survive and spread). We are concerned not only with the actual temperature but also with the rate that the temperature changes. Very rapid changes make it more likely that species (maybe even including humans!) cannot adapt and will go extinct. This multi-part activity was completed over 2 75-min classes and allows students to discover the relationships between CO2 and temperature and how these variables have changed over time using real-world data.

Jump to: Course Context | Teaching Details | How It Went | Future Use

Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course

This module was an excellent fit with my overall course curriculum. We had just finished sections on Nonrenewable and Renewable Energy Sources. This module was completed over 2 course periods and took place after a guest lecture from someone from the Solar industry and the module was followed by 2 additional classes on evidence for climate change and climate change solutions. I found students utilizing knowledge from this module in their discussion points. The module also fit in with Part 2 of the larger division of the class, where Part 1 was focused on understanding the natural world (topics include population dynamics, community interactions and change, evolution, ecosystems, and biodiversity) and Part 2 was understanding human impact on the natural world (human population growth, agriculture and ecology of food, air pollution, water quality, nonrenewable energy source, renewable energy sources, and climate change). The module also fit in nicely with my course learning objectives.

Teaching Details

Did you use the entire EDDIE modules as presented? If not, which components did you use?
I did use the entire EDDIE module as presented. The only addition I made was including some Excel shortcut tips into the student instruction handout.

What was the prep like?
I learned from the implementation of a previous EDDIE module and worked through the entire module on my own as if I were a student. This took me about 1.5 hours.

Adaption Materials

Climate Change Module Presentation Edited (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 96MB Jun1 20)

Climate Change Module Student Handout Edited (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 49kB Jun1 20)

How did the activity go?

Students seemed to like this module better than the Water Quality one, but I think that was in part to how much smoother the implementation of this one went relative to the other module. The timing was much better and finding the required data was much more straightforward. Still, a lot of time was spent making graphs, resulting in not a lot of time discussing what they were finding. Students had to finish assignment as homework, despite having 2 full 75-mins class to work on things. Maybe too much time on PowerPoint intro/lecture?

Future Use

This instructor story and adaption materials were developed during a Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network in partnership with QUBES in the fall of 2019.

Project EDDIE Faculty Mentoring Network logo
I might consider having students make graphs prior to coming to class, so that they still get the practice using Excel and finding/downloading large datasets, but then most of the class can be focused on data interpretation and discussion - of what the data means, how it was collected, how it can be interpreted, etc. Might be a good place to insert discussion of data interrogation so that students learn how easily it is to manipulate data to say what someone wants. How can we examine data and who is collecting it so that we can trust any reported results?