InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources > Instructor Stories > Pamela Gore
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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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Pamela Gore: Using Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources at Perimeter College, Georgia State University.

About this course

A traditional introductory-level environmental science course.

20
students

Two 75-minute lecture
sessions and
One 2 hour and 45 minute lab
session per week
A large, multi-campus public two-year institution
(about 21,000 students) which is a college of Georgia State University.
Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 939kB Jan30 16)

A Success Story in Building Student Engagement

I piloted this module in the middle of the spring semester in my environmental science lab class, and it really livened things up and got the students engaged with the material.
Students hear a lot of misconceptions about science topics, particularly related to climate change, and these units really got the students thinking.
They learned to identify misconceptions and logical fallacies, learned about the carbon cycle and evidence for climate change, how fossil fuels form and how carbon dioxide levels have been changing in the atmosphere, and actually got to try to determine the best way to deal with the problem by evaluating several proposals. They are now more confident in how Earth's systems interact and respond to change when they hear climate change discussed.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate Materials

I used the module in my laboratory classes, where we had extra time, and where the students could interact easily around the lab tables. They enjoyed the short videos, the discussions of the material, and the hands-on activities. Overall, the students said that they learned much more than they usually do in lab with a traditional lab manual, and they want me to adapt other labs to the style of teaching and learning that is used in these activities. It was a great experience.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to My Course

When I first piloted the materials in my environmental science lab, we worked through all six of the units, in order, doing two units per week in a two hour and 45 minute lab. We were covering similar topics in lecture (energy resources, atmosphere, and climate change), so using the module in lab fit very well with the lecture topics. The next semester I taught the course, I just used a few of the units, and incorporated some of the optional materials and expanded the units to fill the entire lab time. This felt a little less rushed, and gave us time to explore some of the topics in greater depth. I would like to use all six modules in order and cover one in each lab session. I also found that I could use some of the PowerPoints in lecture class to reinforce what was covered in lab, and to enrich the experience of lecture students who were taking lab from other instructors.

Assessments

After doing the lab activities, I had the students write answers to the review questions in the Unit 4 and 5 PowerPoints. I also had the students answer the questions in the Summative Assessments. Students were able to articulate much of what they had learned, and show that they had met the learning goals for the activities. I modified the assessments to remove any questions relating to activities that we did not do.

The summative assessments are included as quizzes in each of the units in this module. Many are multiple choice, true/false, or short answer. Others are short essays asking students to articulate what they have learned.

Outcomes

My vision and goals for this module were to help students to have an informed understanding of some of the critical issues facing our world at this point in time. These include our energy future (in a time of declining oil supplies, fluctuating prices, and uncertain global political and economic conditions), and the consequences of continuing unbridled use of fossil fuels, namely rapid increases in atmospheric (and oceanic) carbon dioxide, and the resulting climate change or global warming. There are those who seek to cloud these issues with logical fallacies, and this module helps students see through the smokescreen and recognize the difference between fact and fiction. Introducing students to authentic data provides them with a strong sense of how scientists know that the world is changing, and a background to evaluate these issues clearly. My students learned a lot and this information will be very useful to them in the future, as we will doubtlessly see these issues increasingly in the news in the future.

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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 »