Instructor Stories

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Becca Walker: Teaching Climate of Change in an Introductory Oceanography Course for Nonscience Majors at Mt. San Antonio College, CA
OCEA10 provides an introduction to the ocean environment, including geological, chemical, physical, and biological oceanography topics. Students are told to be prepared to work hard and use their brain! This is not a marine biology course. The course covers marine biology briefly, but the majority of the course focus is geology, chemistry, and physics.

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Introductory
Teaching Context: Intro Courses, Two Year Colleges
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Climate of Change

Using the Project EDDIE Major Ions in Freshwater Systems module in Environmental Processes, Challenges, and Methods
Megan Kelly, Loyola University Chicago
This module introduces students to a common and important source of freshwater pollution that invites debate about how to address the problem. By examining publicly available data, students can discover what types of environments are likely to suffer from road salt pollution, compare environmental concentrations of chloride to concentrations of legal and biological concern, and either defend the use of sodium chloride for road deicing or propose another solution, based on their understanding of the data.

Using Project EDDIE modules in Global Challenges, Scientific Solutions: Climate Change
Pamela Freeman, The College of Saint Scholastica
We found this case study to have an outsized impact on our students. The students reported feeling more confident with data, spreadsheets, and analysis, and were surprised with what they could do. They were also surprised by the biological findings, some events were happening earlier and some were not affected by slightly warmer temperatures.

Kirsten Menking: Using Modeling Earth Systems in Modeling the Earth at Vassar College
Kirsten Menking, Vassar College
I used the Modeling Earth Systems materials in my senior seminar at Vassar College in the spring of 2016. I have taught a numerical modeling course for many years now, but this was the first time that the course focused entirely on the climate system. Fourteen students, drawing from the programs in Earth Science, Biology, and Environmental Studies, took the course. During that time, students learned the fundamentals of modeling in the context of exercises about Earth's radiative equilibrium with the sun, the role of life in moderating climate, the impact of changes in Earth's orbital cycles on the growth and decay of ice sheets, how climate change affects thermohaline circulation (and vice versa), and how human greenhouse gas emissions are altering global temperatures, among other topics.

Subject: Environmental Science
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Modeling Earth Systems

Felecia Dix-Richardson: Using the Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources module in Senior Seminar in Criminal Justice at Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
Felecia Dix-Richardson, Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University
A Success Story in Teaching Environmental Justice to Criminal Justice Students My course is a capstone course for criminal justice majors. The main emphasis of this course is to provide a contemporary analysis of theoretical and applied issues in criminal justice. Within in this course, students critically assess the criminal justice system as it relates to political policy and influence, economics, gender, race and socio-economic status. Although issues pertaining to environmental justice have been presented in this class in the past, this was the first time environmental justice was presented as a major grading segment in this course. The previous teaching format for this course had been lecture, class discussion and research paper/group presentations. By using the integrate modules (e.g., pair share and jigsaw learning) students were able take a hands on collective learning approach. This approach created an environment where students were thoroughly engaged. The exposure to the many issues that create environmental racism allowed my students to critically assess not only their immediate environments, but environments throughout the United States and around the world. This course is one of the last courses that criminal justice majors complete. One of the components of this course is to provide an overview of career opportunities in the criminal justice field. After the completion of the environmental justice segment, many students expressed an interest in pursuing careers with the United States Environmental Protection Agency and other organizations that have a dedicated mission of protecting the environment.

InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources

Louisa Bradtmiller: Modeling Earth Systems at Macalester College
Louisa Bradtmiller, Macalester College
Building skills and confidence through modeling This course attempts to teach students to think like a modeler in a single semester, without any pre-requisites in math or computer science. By using a visually-based software package and introducing a few new ideas and skills each week, students acquire the tools they need to test hypotheses with their own independently-constructed models by the end of the course. The course was unique for me because there was almost no lecturing; just a few minutes at the start of each week's 3-hour block. The fact that the students spent almost all of in-class time each week working on translating the readings into working models meant that they got to try, fail, ask questions, talk with each other, and try again, all with the instructor present.

Subject: Geoscience:Atmospheric Science:Climate Change:Global change modeling, Environmental Science:Global Change and Climate:Climate Change:Global change modeling
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Modeling Earth Systems

Dr. Dave Bice: Using Modeling Earth Systems in Modeling the Earth System at The Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
David Bice, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
This course attempts to teach students to think like a modeler and learn about Earth System dynamics through the construction and experimentation with computer models. At Penn State, this is a required class for a new major on Earth Science and Policy, and its prerequisites include calculus, chemistry, and introductory earth science. There were no traditional lectures in this class; students came to each class period having completed the background reading. The class periods were working sessions in which the students worked through exercises that guided them through constructing and then experimenting with models created in STELLA (a visually-based program for creating models).

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geophysics:Computer Modeling, Geoscience:Geology
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Modeling Earth Systems

Lisa Gilbert: Teaching Natural Hazards and Risks: Hurricanes in Oceanographic Processes at Williams-Mystic
Oceanographic Processes examines coastal and open ocean environmental science issues. Topics such as sea level rise, global warming, coastal erosion and hazards, pollution and nutrient cycling, and fisheries productivity shed light on the critical importance of understanding the human relationship with the sea. The focus of the course is on controlling processes with regional comparisons. Blue water oceanography is conducted in the Atlantic, and comparative coastal oceanography includes field studies on the West and Gulf coasts of the United States as part of the Williams-Mystic program. Oceanographic Processes also explores the diversity of ocean ecosystems and communities through numerous field studies in New England marine habitats that lead to independent research projects.

Subject: Geoscience:Oceanography
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Introductory
Teaching Context: Intro Courses
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Natural Hazards and Risks:Natural Hazards and Risks: Hurricanes

Jeff Thomas: Using Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students in the History and Nature of Science at Central Connecticut State University
During the first five weeks of the course, students are introduced to the history and nature of science, the methods of science, and crosscutting science concepts (e.g. patterns, systems). This includes theoretical constructs (e.g. readings about inductive and deductive scientific reasoning) as well as applications for the secondary science classroom (e.g. doing inquiry-based activities). During the second five weeks, students implement an inquiry-based activity based on a major scientific discovery that incorporates the nature and methods of science. Students also create a formal presentation about this discovery (e.g. history of the discovery, methods utilized by scientists), as well as the impact of this discovery on society.

Teaching Context: Courses for Future Teachers
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Exploring Geoscience Methods

Scott Linneman: Using Exploring Geoscience Methods with Secondary Education Students in Methods in Secondary Education for Science Teachers at Western Washington University
This one quarter, 5-credit course is for pre-service secondary science teachers. It includes the study of literature, curriculum, and teaching strategies in life, Earth, and physical sciences for grades 4-12. Students also participate in peer teaching and school observations. Prerequisites include admission to the secondary teaching program and a major or concentration in natural sciences; one course as an introduction to secondary education; and one course as an introduction to science education.

Subject: Geoscience, Education
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Teaching Context: Courses for Future Teachers, InTeGrate and NGSS
InTeGrate Modules and Courses: Exploring Geoscience Methods