InTeGrate Modules and Courses >The Wicked Problem of Global Food Security > Unit 5: Case Study Group Work-Spatial Data Investigation
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Unit 5: Case Study Group Work-Spatial Data Investigation

Rebecca Boger, Brooklyn College, rboger@brooklyn.cuny.edu, Amy E. Potter, Armstrong State University, amy.potter@armstrong.edu, and Russanne Low, Institute for Global Environmental Strategies, rusty_low@strategies.org.

Summary

Unit 5 will delve more into an examination of food security using online ArcGIS. The class begins with a GIS-based exploration of data available for the three regions. The rest of the class period is provided for group work creating an action plan for a food insecurity issue teams have identified for their region. Students will utilize their maps from ArcGIS Online within their action plan. One component of the summative assessment, to be submitted in Unit 6, is a community-based action plan of how the selected community can increase food security and lessen vulnerability.

Learning Goals

(After students have completed Units 4, 5, and 6) they will be able to:

  1. Brainstorm solution(s) to the wicked problem of food security using spatial tools.
  2. Synthesize multiple data sets and types of background material.
  3. Describe the various factors that influence food security in three different regional contexts.
  4. Make connections between the Earth system and cultural, economic, and political processes to understand the wicked problem of food security.

Context for Use

Unit 5 builds on understanding of the wicked problem of Global Food Security and provides an opportunity for students to apply their knowledge by identifying and addressing a food security issue from a regional context. In Unit 5, we shift our focus to utilizing already created data sets in ArcGIS Online (AGO). The instructor will provide data sets in AGO, however, they are not limited to using these data sets. Ideally the students will have two class periods to complete Units 4 and 5 and will present their analyses to the class in Unit 6.

This unit builds on food security and Earth system science covered in the first three units. It can be taught in any course discussing food security or it can be modified to fit a variety of courses in the sciences and social sciences. The activities included in this unit are appropriate for introductory-level college students or as a basis for more in-depth class discussions on food security for upper-level students.

This unit is designed for a 90-minute face-to-face class and is appropriate for lower division undergraduates who are enrolled in social science, environmental science, or ecology courses. The lesson as designed requires a prior introduction to the basic sociopolitical, cultural, and economic aspects of global food security (see unit 1 as an example), an introduction to Earth's climate zones and climate change (see Units 2 and 3), and regional background provided in Unit 4. Ideally, students will have access to a computer lab to conduct the spatial analysis assigned for classwork. Alternatively, the instructor can demonstrate the activity and assign as homework if a computer lab is not available.

Description and Teaching Materials

5.1 Group Discussion (50 minutes)

Students will meet in their regional groups, and work through the AGO materials provided. After their analysis, students will create maps to be included in their final presentation.

  • Region 1 (New York City): ArcGIS Online Activity: NYC AGO Activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 165kB Dec2 16)
  • Region 2 (Nebraska): Nebraska AGO Activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 25kB Dec2 16)
  • Region 3 (Caribbean): ArcGIS Online Activity Caribbean AGO Activity (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 157kB Dec2 16)

5.2 Group Work (40 minutes)

The rest of the class period is provided for group work creating an action plan for a food insecurity issue teams have identified for their region.

5.3 Post-class Activity

Students will continue to work on their case studies as homework in preparation for the gallery walk.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Data sources for each case study region (New York City, Nebraska, and CARICOM) are provided to assist students in completing the AGO assignment. You may find it desirable to include your own community within a case study region, in which case you will need to identify resources with a regional focus beforehand. More detailed analysis is possible if students are assigned part of the work as a homework project and there is a week of time or more between Units 4 and 5 and the submission of the assignment in week 6.

Here are instructions on how to create an AGO activity for a new region: AGO template instructions (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 22kB Dec2 16)

Each region is unique in terms of the types/quantity of data that are available for student analysis (particularly the Caribbean). This is an opportunity to have a discussion on the unevenness of data availability with your students.

Learn more about Gallery Walks from Pedagogy in Action http://serc.carleton.edu/sp/library/gallerywalk/index.html

Assessment

Instructors who wish to provide feedback on individual map products can apply the Universal Rubric for Assignments Units 1-5 (Excel 2007 (.xlsx) 40kB Dec1 16).

References and Resources

Food Deserts and Access

NYC

Nebraska

Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM)

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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 »