Adam Wymore: Introduction to Critical Zone Science at University of New Hampshire-Main Campus
About this CourseThis course was offered as an elective to upper-division Environmental Science majors at the University of New Hampshire.
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
This course was taught as an upper-division elective to Environmental Science Majors at the University of New Hampshire. The student body reflected a mix of students specializing in Ecosystem Ecology, Soils, and Hydrology. This diversity, as well as my training as a biologist made for an rich combination of perspectives on Critical Zone Science. At the end of course, students really appreciated the holistic approach to environmental and earth system science.
– Bri (Senior at UNH)
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrate MaterialsI made very few modifications to the original course except for some readings that I thought would appeal to this particular group of students.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
My course focused completely on Critical Zone Science and incorporated the vast majority of the Integrate Course. My course was a semester long course and we met twice weekly for 75 minutes. I hope to continue to teach this course (and possibly some other iterations of it) in the future. I am particularly interested in developing a lab portion of the course and a possibly a summer field experience based on this course.
AssessmentsI think the students really benefited from the data analysis based assignments in the course. In this smaller section I was easily able to identify was aspects of the data analysis (e.g. statistics, graphing, interpretation) the students were struggling with. The students also really appreciated the freedom to select their own research topics at the end but required a good deal of guidance on asking a focused research question. I think the new summative assessment regarding a research proposal will be highly beneficial.
I really wanted the students to appreciate how nothing in the biosphere exists in a vacuum. To understand how the biosphere (or Critical Zone) supports life we must take a systems approach to understand interactions over space and time. I think the students left the course with a greater appreciation of this complexity, but, were also inspired by the fact the CZ science is really working hard to connect the science to real issues facing humanity and society.