InTeGrate Modules and Courses >An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water 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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Summary

In this three-week module, students will investigate the ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. Students will be introduced to ecosystem services as a way of integrating the components of the hydrologic cycle as a system, synthesizing the interaction between the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, and linking those processes to the needs and aspirations of particular communities in particular places. Rezoning, annexation, and land-use changes are some of the most common issues that come before local governing bodies; many of these changes involve natural areas and green spaces becoming industrial, commercial, or residential developments. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to actively engage in the public dialogues that are typically part of the process, from understanding and analyzing a problem to presenting reasonable solutions from particular stakeholders' perspectives.

Strengths of the Module

Students who learn with this module will:

  • Be able to recognize the range and variety of ecosystem services associated with land use and its relation to the hydrologic cycle. They accomplish this by evaluating how the production of ecosystem services varies over time and among multiple land uses and land covers, explaining the hydrologic cycle using authentic rainfall and runoff data, and assessing human impacts on different components of the hydrologic cycle using a systems-thinking approach.
  • Be able to infer and estimate the ecosystem services of natural or pervious land cover based on modeling the impact of development on the hydrologic cycle, specifically stormwater runoff. They accomplish this by modeling the impact of development on stormwater runoff and by assessing methods to mitigate the impact of development on stormwater runoff using low impact development.
  • Be able to articulate and evaluate the impact of land use change on water resources utilizing an ecosystem services approach. They accomplish this by recognizing the interests and values of multiple stakeholder groups, creating a presentation, supported by hydrologic data, that aligns with stakeholder group interests, and assessing an ecosystem services approach to land use change.

A great fit for courses in:

  • Ecology
  • Environmental Studies
  • Environmental Science
  • Earth Science
  • Environmental Ethics
  • Land Use Planning and Design
  • Physical Geography
  • Sustainability

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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

This module provides a series of activities for students to investigate the ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water that could be modified for use by students in K-12 settings. Throughout the module students use Google Earth and EPA's National Stormwater Calculator to model the impact of land cover changes on stormwater runoff. The National Stormwater Calculator could be used at the middle and high school level as can much of the introductory PowerPoints and Google Earth activities.

This introductory to intermediate-level module contains three units and is designed to be implemented over three weeks. The overall goal of the module is to use an ecosystem services approach to engage in civic discourse concerning land-use change.

Supported community developed, nationally-recognized Earth Science Literacy Principles:

  • Earth Science Literacy 1.1: Earth scientists find solutions to society's needs.
  • Earth Science Literacy 1.2: Earth scientists use a large variety of scientific principles to understand how our planet works.
  • Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 3: Earth is a complex system of interacting rock, water, air, and life.
  • Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 4: Earth is continuously changing.
  • Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 5: Earth is the water planet
  • Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 7: Humans depend on Earth for resources.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.1: Natural hazards result from natural Earth processes.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.7: Humans cannot eliminate natural hazards, but can engage in activities that reduce their impacts.
  • Earth Science Literacy 8.8: An Earth-science-literate public is essential for reducing risks from natural hazards.

Addressed community developed, nationally-recognized Atmospheric Science Literacy Principles:

  • Atmospheric Science Literacy Essential Principle 5: Earth's atmosphere continually interacts with the other components of the Earth System.
  • Atmospheric Science Literacy Essential Principle 7: Earth's atmosphere and humans are inextricably linked.


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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 »