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InTeGrate's 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 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.
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For the Instructor

These student materials complement the Interactions between Water, Earth’s Surface, and Human Activity Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.

Student Materials

Welcome Students!

In this module you will learn that water is a limited resource on which we all depend. You will develop a more sophisticated understanding of the water cycle and its interplay with Earth's surface and with human populations. You will explore how streams are influenced by the hydrologic cycle, regional geology, and climate. You will also explore how humans coexist with rivers and deal with periodic flooding.

Initial Ideas

You can work individually or in a group to record some of your current thinking about the concepts that will be covered in this module.

To get started, download the initial ideas student worksheet (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 248kB Nov5 14).

Unit 1: The Hydrologic Cycle

In this unit, you will examine the different types of reservoirs where water on Earth is stored. Using a scale model, you will investigate the movement of matter (water) between the atmosphere, biosphere, geosphere, and hydrosphere. A key consideration is the percentage of freshwater that is readily available for human consumption and the impact of human activity on the quality of the water.

The student materials have been divided into several files. Your instructor will explain which files you need to access.

  • To get started on this activity, download one of the following two files (your instructor will indicate which one to download):
  • Homework: This assignment takes you from a global perspective of the hydrologic cycle to one that is regional and connected to your everyday experiences. The goal is to become more knowledgeable about the freshwater reservoirs located in the area of the country where you live, and how the human activity can affect the quality of the water in the reservoirs. Download the Unit 1 Homework (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 107kB Jan11 15).

Unit 2: Fluvial Processes that Shape the Natural Landscape

In this unit, you will create a model using a stream tray to simulate how fluvial processes shape a river system through erosion, transport and deposition of sediment. Key consideration in the sustainability of a river system is the impact of human activity on the quality of water that is readily available for human consumption.

Unit 3: How Streams Change

In this unit, you will use Google Earth to explore one or more river systems and observe how those streams change through time and along its entire length.

The student materials have been divided into several files. Your instructor will explain which files you need to access.

Unit 4: Hazards from Flooding

In this unit, you will investigate why rivers flood in some years but not others, and how scientists attempt to predict the size of future floods, and you will examine flooding on a river near you.

Unit 5 - Linking Processes Driven by Internal and External Energy Sources

In this unit, you will connect what you have learned about the hydrologic cycle with what you have previously learned about the rock cycle and plate tectonics. This unit will focus on group thinking: interpreting a rock cycle diagram, identifying energy transfers (including sources and sinks), and describing a hypothetical rock material transfer pathway.

The student materials have been divided into several files. Your instructor will explain which files you need to access.

  • To get started on this activity, download one of the following two files (your instructor will indicate which one to download):
  • The homework (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 121kB Nov21 14) asks you to read and answer questions about an article from Scientific American called How Erosion Builds Mountains.
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 »