InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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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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Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Jul 15, 2016

Summary

This two-week module focuses on fostering a deeper understanding of the carbon cycle and what happens when it is perturbed. In six self-contained units that would fit well in classes such as Physical Geology, Historical Geology, or Environmental Geology, students will develop their critical thinking skills, explore the dynamics of Earth's carbon cycle through biogeochemistry and the perspective of "deep time," and learn how carbon was sequestered to produce traditional and nontraditional fossil fuels. Now that these subterranean carbon reservoirs have been tapped, students will examine the current state of carbon cycle destabilization, and its potential consequences, before concluding with an examination of strategies available to society, including carbon taxation, artificial sequestration, and several kinds of geoengineering.

Strengths of the Module

By analyzing authentic and credible geoscience data, this module grounds individuals' understanding of climate change in the perspective of geologic time and Earth systems thinking (specifically the carbon cycle), as well as arming students with the tools of skepticism in order to recognize fallacious arguments and misinformation about climate science. Activities within this module facilitate students making connections between climate change, energy sources, and the moral, societal, and economic costs of policy options.
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These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards. At the top of each page, you can click on the NGSS logo to see the specific connections. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more about the process of alignment and how to use InTeGrate materials to implement the NGSS.

NGSS in this Module

Overall, this module focuses on developing a systemic understanding of the carbon cycle from formation of fossil fuels to how humans are changing the carbon cycle to cause global climate changes. Ending the module on solutions is a strong and effective pedagogic manuver that enables students to conceptualize human and ecosystem survival.

A great fit for courses in:

  • environmental science
  • meteorology
  • physical geology
  • historical geology
  • energy
  • global change
This module is appropriate for introductory-level geoscience and environmental science courses. The module is designed to stand alone and can be easily adapted to many class sizes and formats (large- or small-enrollment classes, online/distance learning courses, and interdisciplinary courses). To facilitate versatility, the module includes six individual units with lab/homework and short in-class activities that can be taught as individual lessons or even separate activities.

Supported Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Big Idea 1: Earth scientists use repeatable observations and testable ideas to understand and explain our planet.

Supported Essential Principles of Climate Science:

2. Climate is regulated by complex interactions among components of the Earth system.

4. Our understanding of the climate system is improved through observations, theoretical studies, and modeling.

5. Climate varies over space and time through both natural and human-made processes.

6. Human activities are impacting the climate system.

7. Climate change will have consequences for the Earth system and human lives.

Addressed grand challenges in Earth and environmental science:

  • Recognizing the signal within the natural variability
  • Quantifying consequences, impacts, and effects
  • Effectively communicating uncertainty and relative risk

Addressed grand challenges in Earth system science for global sustainability:

  • Determine how to anticipate, avoid, and manage disruptive global environmental change.
  • Determine institutional, economic, and behavioral changes to enable effective steps toward global sustainability.
  • Encourage innovation (and mechanisms for evaluation) in technological, policy, and social responses to achieve global sustainability.


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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 »