Using Project EDDIE modules in Carbon and Climate

Dan Maxbauer, Carleton College

About this Course

Carbon and Climate

Lecture and Lab

Upper Level Undergraduate

Majors and Non-Majors

students in the course

students in the section

EDDIE Module Developed

The Exploring the Global Carbon Budget module is helpful for student exploration for how carbon emissions interact with the natural exchange of carbon in global carbon cycle. The combination of data visualization and active learning helps students grasp both the magnitude and rates of carbon exchange each year.

Jump to: Course Context | Teaching Details | Student Outcomes

Relationship of EDDIE Module(s) to my Course

I typically use this module in my course as a bridge between discussion of the natural carbon cycle and anthropogenic carbon emissions. Students in my course have spent a few weeks learning fundamental principles of biogeochemistry and are familiar with all major reservoirs and processes in the carbon cycle prior to completing this module.

Teaching Details

What key suggestions would you give to a colleague before they used the activity in their teaching?
During the pilot for this module, I split the instruction across three different lecture periods of 70 minutes each. This module requires students to actively create and think about data visualizations - and this always requires time and space for students to think and engage. A key suggestion would be to plan for enough time that all students can work through each phase of this activity. In the pilot, I let students know ahead of time when we were going to discuss each module part as a group. For example, at the end of class or to begin the next class. Having dedicated time for class discussion allows for the instructor to spend much of the active work time helping students troubleshoot technical problems. For students who move more quickly through the module, they can continue to explore the data and discuss questions with peers in small groups in advance of the class discussion.

How did you address challenges in teaching with the module?
For instructors hoping to use R for this activity, be ready for a slow start as students all get up and running with the program. In the pilot study, there were a lot of questions and trouble in the first half of class. However, over the course of the module, students become increasingly self sufficient and build confidence in their ability to manipulate the code and visualizations.

Student Outcomes

This module was helpful for students to better understand rates of change in the global carbon cycle.

Most students had improved confidence with their ability to interpret and interact with data after this module.