InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Future of Food > Course Overview
 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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Instructor Materials: Overview of the Future of Food Course

Course Goals:

Upon completion of this course, students will be able to:

  • Describe and assess the soil, biological, and water resources and climatic conditions that support food production systems. (Earth Science Literacy Big Ideas 7.1, 7.3, 7.4, 7.5)
  • Analyze how human food systems significantly alter Earth's ecosystems, specifically the biological, soil, and water resources. (Earth Science Literacy Big Ideas 3.2, 3.4, 3.5, 3.6, 3.7, 9.1, 9.3, 9.4, 9.5, 9.6, 9.7)
  • Evaluate the resilience of food production systems in the context of climate change, human population growth, and socio-economic factors. (Earth Science Literacy Big Idea 7.10)

Course Summative Assessment: Evaluation accomplished via summative assessments in each module and a semester-long capstone project. The course summative assessment is a semester-long capstone project that is culminates in the development of a website about a regional food system in Module 12 (see Module 12 below for associated documents). Students gather data and information to support their final presentation in stages throughout the semester, at the end of every third module.

Course Outline

Section 1: Introduction

  • Module 1: Introduction and overview: Humans Significantly Alter the Earth. Social-ecological systems of global land use and food in the Anthropocene
  • Module 2: History of Food Systems - co-evolution of agriculture and biota
  • Module 3: Diet and Nutrition - interactions between soil fertility, global nutrient cycles, and food production systems
  • Capstone Project: Stage 1

Section 2: Environmental Dynamics and Drivers

Section 3: Systems Approaches to Managing our Food

Section 4: Food Systems and Sustainability

Capstone overview

The capstone project is organized into four stages which are completed throughout the course, culminating in a final group presentation in Module 12:

Adapting the Course to Different Structures, Formats, and Schedules

The course may be taught in its entirety, or individual modules may be extracted for use within other courses. This course works well as a "blended" course, with the modules being completed at home and the activities being completed or presented in a weekly in-person class meeting. It could also be taught entirely online, or the activities could be used in conjunction with lectures developed by the instructor to introduce the relevant concepts in a traditional lecture-based course.

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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 »