InTeGrate Modules and Courses >The Wicked Problem of Global Food Security > Student Materials
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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These student materials complement the The Wicked Problem of Global Food Security 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!

The 1996 World Food Summit declared food security to be "when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life." Over the next several decades, food security will be one of the the most pressing issues facing our planet. In the coming weeks, you are going to explore food security from a socio-economic and environmental perspective utilizing systems thinking. Your final assignment will be to create a community action plan to address food insecurity in either the United States or the Caribbean.

Unit 1. Introduction to Food Security

In this unit, you will learn about food security and the major factors contributing to food insecurity today. You will also learn to identify the components of the global food system through a mapping exercise using a chocolate bar.

Before class:

  • Read the following handout on food security. Student Handout on Food Security (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 162kB Dec1 16)
  • Over the next few weeks, you will use a mapping technology called ArcGIS Online. In order to familiarize yourself with AGO, you will need to complete the following 4x5 exercise 4x5 Activity to Orient to AGO (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 114kB Dec1 16). Essentially, you will work through four activities that take 5 minutes each to complete.

Unit 2. Systems Thinking and the Wicked Problem of Global Food Security

Wicked problems are problems that are unsolvable in the traditional sense, and have complex multiscalar causal factors that contribute to the creation of new issues as old ones are addressed. Both global food security and climate change are examples of wicked problems. This unit presents systems thinking as a way to identify complex problems and explore solutions, and identifies the Earth systems vocabulary that you will be using for the rest of the module.

Before class:

Bring your homework organizer to class, for submission or discussion.

In class:

  • You will break into groups and develop a systems diagram of the Earth system. After completing this activity in class you will be asked to identify one aspect of the global food system and link it with at least three other parts of the food system.

Rubric:

Unit 3. Climate Change and Food Security

In this unit, you will use ArcGIS Online to learn about the projected changes in climate over time, and evaluate how these changes may impact food production. After this activity you will be able to address the question, "How should climate change be factored into strategies to improve global food security?"

Before class:

  • Read the following article:
    Ruf, F. O. 2011 The myth of complex cocoa agroforests: The case of Ghana. Human Ecology 39:373-388. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3109247

    To obtain background understanding of traditional cocoa production to prepare for the in class mapping activity, please look at the following parts of this article carefully: p. 1-3; p. 13-14 (Abstract, Introduction, Different Disciplines, Different Explanations; Conclusion). Be prepared to discuss cocoa production in class, prepare one or two points you wish to contribute to the discussion.

  • Do the tutorial: Understanding the Climate System.

    Unit 3: Pre-class climate system tutorial (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 12.1MB Aug28 16)

    You can use the Unit 3 Homework Organizer to prepare the homework assignment for class: Unit 3 Homework Organizer (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 388kB Dec2 16).

    Part 1 of the tutorial provides an overview of how the Earth's latitudinal climate zones are generated by the Earth system, and part 2 provides a short introduction to climate change by revisiting the carbon cycle and discussing how human activity has changed the flux rates of carbon from sequestered reservoirs below ground, enriched the carbon in the atmosphere, and contributed to greenhouse gas enrichment and climate warming.

In Class:

  • You will work in pairs or in groups and complete a time-aware map service that will allow you to explore visually the changes in climate and vegetation observed since 1900 and projected to 2100. The submitted map will enable assessment of ability to produce a map the cloud-based GIS tool, ArcGIS Online, and to conduct a visual or a simple quantitative analysis of data using spatial tools.

Rubric:

  • To facilitate self-evaluation, a product rubric provides expectations for graded work. Universal Rubric for Evaluating Student Work, Units 1-3 Universal Rubric for Assignments Units 1-4 (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 38kB Aug31 16).

Unit 4. Case Study Group Work – Problem Identification

In this unit you will work in small groups to examine the many aspects of food security in one of three regions, Caribbean, New York City, or Nebraska, or in a region your instructor selects. You will continue to work in your groups for units 5 and 6. In unit 6, you will present a community-based action plan of how your assigned can increase food security and lessen vulnerability.

Before Class:

  • Your instructor will have assigned you to a group and region at the end of unit 3. Based on the region you will be examining, read the following document associated with your assigned region.

In Class:

  • After the instructor gives overviews of food security for the regions, you will work in your groups to identify the main issues about food security in your region based on the readings and additional research you do. You will continue your research as homework depending on how much you accomplish during class. To help with planning your group product, here is a checklist and rubric. It would be a good idea for you to look at this document early on so that you have a good understanding of how the instructor will be evaluating your work.

Unit 5: Case Study Group Work – Spatial Data Investigation

For Unit 5, you will delve more into the examination of food security in your region using Online ArcGIS (AGO). You will examine spatial data sets for your region following instructions in the AGO assignments created for each region. The spatial patterns you see and the maps you created in AGO will be integrated with other information you compile in your final project to be presented in Unit 6. Don't forget to look at the project checklist and rubric provided to you in Unit 4.

Unit 6. Regional Case Study Community Action Plans

In this final unit, you will present your regional case study to your classmates. See checklist/rubric below, so you will know how your instructor will grade your presentation:


     

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 »