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Activity 2.2: Issue Investigation

Jeff Thomas, Central Connecticut State University (thomasjed@ccsu.edu) on module writing team with Scott Linneman and Jim Ebert.

These materials have been reviewed for their alignment with the Next Generation Science Standards as detailed below. Visit InTeGrate and the NGSS to learn more.

Overview

Student groups choose a geographical study area and analyze authentic data sets of sea level trends, terrestrial ice sheet trends, and intensity of tropical cyclones as well as forecast models of atmospheric CO2, temperature trends and sea level rise. After reading IPCC literature, they create climate change concept maps of their study area and engage in peer review to form preliminary claims addressing the question, "To what extent should we build or rebuild coastal communities?" The use of digital tools (Microsoft Excel) to construct and analyze graphs is included.

Science and Engineering Practices

Using Mathematics and Computational Thinking: Use digital tools (e.g., computers) to analyze very large data sets for patterns and trends. MS-P5.1:

Developing and Using Models: Develop and/or use a model to predict and/or describe phenomena. MS-P2.5:

Analyzing and Interpreting Data: Use graphical displays (e.g., maps, charts, graphs, and/or tables) of large data sets to identify temporal and spatial relationships. MS-P4.2:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Critically read scientific literature adapted for classroom use to determine the central ideas or conclusions and/or to obtain scientific and/or technical information to summarize complex evidence, concepts, processes, or information presented in a text by paraphrasing them in simpler but still accurate terms. HS-P8.1:

Obtaining, Evaluating, and Communicating Information: Communicate scientific and/or technical information or ideas (e.g. about phenomena and/or the process of development and the design and performance of a proposed process or system) in multiple formats (i.e., orally, graphically, textually, mathematically). HS-P8.5:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Construct and revise an explanation based on valid and reliable evidence obtained from a variety of sources (including students’ own investigations, models, theories, simulations, peer review) and the assumption that theories and laws that describe the natural world operate today as they did in the past and will continue to do so in the future. HS-P6.2:

Constructing Explanations and Designing Solutions: Apply scientific reasoning, theory, and/or models to link evidence to the claims to assess the extent to which the reasoning and data support the explanation or conclusion. HS-P6.4:

Cross Cutting Concepts

Systems and System Models: Models can be used to represent systems and their interactions—such as inputs, processes and outputs—and energy, matter, and information flows within systems. MS-C4.2:

Stability and Change: Feedback (negative or positive) can stabilize or destabilize a system. HS-C7.3:

Stability and Change: Change and rates of change can be quantified and modeled over very short or very long periods of time. Some system changes are irreversible. HS-C7.2:

Scale, Proportion and Quantity: The significance of a phenomenon is dependent on the scale, proportion, and quantity at which it occurs. HS-C3.1:

Cause and effect: Changes in systems may have various causes that may not have equal effects. HS-C2.4:

Cause and effect: Cause and effect relationships can be suggested and predicted for complex natural and human designed systems by examining what is known about smaller scale mechanisms within the system. HS-C2.2:

Disciplinary Core Ideas

Global Climate Change: Human activities, such as the release of greenhouse gases from burning fossil fuels, are major factors in the current rise in Earth’s mean surface temperature (global warming). Reducing the level of climate change and reducing human vulnerability to whatever climate changes do occur depend on the understanding of climate science, engineering capabilities, and other kinds of knowledge, such as understanding of human behavior and on applying that knowledge wisely in decisions and activities. MS-ESS3.D1:

Weather and Climate: Changes in the atmosphere due to human activity have increased carbon dioxide concentrations and thus affect climate. HS-ESS2.D3:

Earth Materials and Systems: Earth’s systems, being dynamic and interacting, cause feedback effects that can increase or decrease the original changes. HS-ESS2.A1:

Performance Expectations

Earth's Systems: Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth's surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems. HS-ESS2-2:

Earth and Human Activity: Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth systems. HS-ESS3-5:

This material was developed and reviewed through the InTeGrate curricular materials development process. This rigorous, structured process includes:

  • team-based development to ensure materials are appropriate across multiple educational settings.
  • multiple iterative reviews and feedback cycles through the course of material development with input to the authoring team from both project editors and an external assessment team.
  • real in-class testing of materials in at least 3 institutions with external review of student assessment data.
  • multiple reviews to ensure the materials meet the InTeGrate materials rubric which codifies best practices in curricular development, student assessment and pedagogic techniques.
  • review by external experts for accuracy of the science content.


This page first made public: Sep 18, 2014

Summary

During Activity 2.2, students download, organize, and analyze geoscience data sets of sea level trends, terrestrial ice sheet trends, and intensity of tropical cyclones as well as forecast models of atmospheric CO2 and temperature trends and sea level rise. Students utilize the methods of geoscience such as systems thinking and using multiple lines of evidence to determine possible relationships and feedbacks among the data sets. Students use this data to construct their argument from evidence for a position paper in Activity 2.3.

Learning Goals

By the end of this activity, pre-service teachers will be able to:

  • Organize and analyze spatial and temporal geoscience data sets and describe the relationships and feedbacks among them.
  • Construct a concept map to illustrate systems thinking by linking multiple lines of evidence of the impact of climate-related changes on coastal communities.

Context for Use

Activity 2.2 is similar to a lab activity that might be given to a high school science class or an introductory college-level geoscience course. The science content from this activity targets those students who have a limited understanding of climate change. The context of this activity uses a societal issue (e.g. cost of rebuilding coastal communities) to motivate students to learn about climate change.

There is no need to introduce science content prior to implementing this activity. Class size should be limited to 24 students and they will be working in small groups (comprising about three students) throughout most of this activity. Computers should be available for students so that they can download, organize, and analyze online climate data. This page provides an overview of the activity, and two student handouts are available and can be modified.

Description and Teaching Materials

Materials:

1. Student Handouts:

Provide students with the After the Storm handout (student directions) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 60kB Oct16 14) or the electronic version of the student page. Provide students with Table 2: Investigating the Problem from the Table 1, 2, and 3 handout (student work) (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 23kB Aug27 14).

Note: If you print Table 2, it may need to be expanded so that students have more room to record their responses. Another suggestion is to use Google Docs. Students then can share and edit the document among all group members.

2. Computer and Internet Access:

This activity also requires students to have access to computers and the Internet. Activity 2.2 includes many data links (see outline below). It is highly recommended that the instructor review the data, and collect and analyze the data before the students do so. In addition, students should have access to Microsoft Excel to construct graphs.

3. Poster Paper

Toward the end of the activity, students need poster paper (large Post-its work particularly well) to create their concept maps. Small Post-it notes are also needed for peer-review feedback.

4. Readings

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary Report for Policy Makers.

Note: The summary for policy makers comes from Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis.

Activity Outline:

Introduction (5 min)

Review the Introduction with the students (see below). Stress the context, the problem, the position paper criteria, and procedures.

Introduction to the Issue

Due to extreme weather events such as hurricanes, policy makers, and private citizens—among others—wonder about the viability of spending billions of dollars of private and public money to rebuild coastal communities. For instance, Hurricane Sandy, which is anticipated to be the second costliest natural disaster, is estimated to cost at least $50 billion. This kind of weather event is hypothesized to be linked to climate change.

To address the issue, the goal for this investigation is for you to write an argument- and evidence-based position paper that responds to the problem below.

Problem: To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities?

Position Paper Criteria:

Write a 500- to 1000-word position paper that . . .

  • Makes an argument and supports the argument with reasons and evidence.
  • Demonstrates organization and use of transitions to clarify relationships among ideas.
  • Demonstrates use of a formal style and standard English.

General Procedures:

In groups of 2–3, follow the steps below (step 1, 2, 3 . . .) to download, organize, and analyze geoscience climate data and forecast modes. This data is the evidence for you position paper. In addition, read the most recent scientific report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This research is additional evidence for your position paper.

Then, guide students through each of the following steps.

Step 1: Select a Study Area (5 minutes)

Have students form groups of 2–3 (see Step 1 from the student handout below). Summarize the purpose of these groups (e.g. Jigsaw Strategy). For instance, each student from the group will download, organize, and analyze one data set (i.e. sea level, terrestrial ice sheets, and intensity of tropical cyclones) and share it with their group. If you are including the optional extension into predictions, inform students that they will also analyze forecast models related to global temperature and rising sea level. Highlight that students will be using spatial and temporal thinking as well as identifying possible linkages and feedbacks among their data sets. Explain to students that they will use this data to construct working hypotheses that respond to the problem (see Introduction).

In groups, select a coastal community study area. You may choose from the list below or choose a different study area. Every group must select a different study area.

  • East Coast
    Portland, ME
    New York, NY
    Outer Banks, NC
    Charleston, SC
    Miami, FL
  • Gulf Coast
    Tampa, FL
    Mobile, AL
    New Orleans, LA
    Houston, TX
    Galveston, TX
  • West Coast
    San Diego, CA
    Los Angeles, CA
    San Francisco, CA
    Astoria, OR
    Seattle, WA

Step 2: Research the Study Area (20 min)

Direct students to use Google Earth and the Internet to research their coastal community study area (see Step 2 from the student handout). Students can divide this task. For instance, one student could use Google Earth to identify areas of urbanization while another student could use the Internet to research population statistics. Reinforce to students that they must record their findings in Table 2: Investigating the Problem.

Alternatively, students can also use the National Map Viewer in lieu of Google Earth. This free program may be less familiar to students, thus they would need additional time to learn how to use it.

Use Google Earth and the Internet to describe the study area. You may divide the task from the list of guiding questions below. Record the group's findings in Table 2: Investigating the Problem.

  • Google Earth: How densely developed is your area? Describe the topography (use 3D mode to see the relief, and hold the mouse over an area to show the elevation). What is the length of the shoreline? (You can measure this using the distance tool.) Has the urban area changed over time? (You can use the historical imagery tool.) Alternatively, you can also use the National Map Viewer in lieu of Google Earth. You can refer to the resources below if you need help using Google Earth or the National Map Viewer.
  • Web: What is the population? Demographics? Urbanization? How has this changed over time? What is the economic output of the region?

Step 3: Research Geoscience Data (60 min)

Carry out this step as a jigsaw activity. First, have each student from his or her study area group select a data set that he or she will research:

The first two data sets require Google Earth and the last data set requires Microsoft Excel.

Note: If there are only two group members, they can complete the Greenland Ice Sheet data together.

Remind each student that he or she must graph the data. Each student, too, should provide a copy of this graph to each group member. Also remind the groups that each member must understand all data sets. This means each member must teach his or her data set to the group.

Note: It is highly recommended that the instructor review and explore the data and programs ahead of time, even if you are familiar with the data. Students are most likely going to have technical questions (in addition to data interpretation) such as how to use Google Earth. Be prepared to respond to student inquiries. Additional resources are located at the bottom of the page to help you better understand Google Earth, KML or KMZ files, and MS Excel.

Record a summary of the CO2 and temperature trends from Table 1: The Issue into Table 2: Investigating the Problem. Include the temperature data from your study area, too. Then, divide data sets 1, 2 and 3 (see below) among the group members. For each data set, read the "Data Collection Procedures" and "Guided Analysis Questions" for assistance.

After you collect the data, construct a graph for each data set. Record the summaries and analyses of the data in Table 2.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with Google Earth, KML/KMZ files, or MS Excel graphing, you might want to use the Data Analysis Resources at the end of this handout. Ask your instructor for guidance, too.

Data Set 1: Sea Level Trends (KMZ File 23kB Aug5 14)

Data source:

  • This data set is from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).
  • You can find out more about the data and how it was collected at NOAA's Sea Level Trends website.

Data Collection Procedure:

      • The "up" or "down" arrows indicate locations with sea-level data; select a minimum of three cities at/near your location. Select two or three locations outside of your area for comparison.
      • Create a table and/or graph based on the guided questions below.

Guided Analysis Questions:

      • What is the lowest recorded sea level data? When? What is the highest? When? What time range was the data collected? What is the rate of sea level change over this time period?
      • How do the data differ among all selected locations? How are they similar?

Data Set 2: Greenland Ice Sheet Trends (KMZ File 247kB Aug5 14)

Data source:

  • This data set is from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) and was downloaded from their Virtual Globes website.
  • You can find out more about the data and how it was collected at NSIDC's Greenland Ice Sheet Today website.

Data Collection Procedure (see YouTube tutorial for these steps)

  • Calculate the area with ice melt for 1985.
  • Under "My Places," from the left-hand menu, right click on the icon and add a folder and title it (e.g. Greenland Ice Sheet).
  • Click on the "add polygon" tool from the top menu bar. Create a polygon (four to five sides) of the area with ice melt. (Note: You will need to make multiple polygons since it will be impossible to create one that accurately covers the desired area.)
  • When the pop-up window appears, label it (e.g. Area A). Once all of the polygons are created, copy the entire folder (with all of the polygons).
  • Go to EarthPoint and paste this polygon folder into the text box. Under output, click on square miles.
  • Then, use the "calculate result," and click on "view webpage" or view "Google Earth." Add the square miles for each polygon to calculate the total square miles.
  • Repeat the steps for 1990, 1995, 2000, and 2005.
  • Create a graph to organize your data.

Guided Analysis Questions:

  • How did the amount of days with ice melt change over the past several decades? What can you infer within the five-year interval?

Data Set 3: Intensity of Tropical Cyclones (Excel 21kB Aug5 14)

Data source:

  • This data set is from Kerry Emanuel at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and was downloaded from his website on tropical cyclones intensity and variability.
  • You can find out more about the data and how it was collected by following the link above.

The data from the link above is the Atlantic tropical cyclone power dissipation and Main Development Region (MDR) sea surface temperature (SST) from 1949 to 2009. Below are key terms.

      • A tropical cyclone is defined as a system that originates over tropical ocean waters and can develop into a destructive storm, which is known in the United States as a hurricane.
      • Power dissipation is defined as the sum of the maximum one-minute sustained wind speed cubed, at six-hourly intervals, for all periods when the cyclone is at least tropical storm strength (minimum of 34 mph).
      • MDR is defined as the region bounded by 6N and 18N, and 20W and 60W; note that the SST data is averaged from August through October of each year.

Data Collection Procedures:

      • Use Google Earth and describe where the MDR is located.
      • Download the data spreadsheet (click on link above). An MS spreadsheet will appear with three columns of data including: 1) Years, 2) the MDR SST, and the 3) Power Dissipation. Please follow the instructions below to create the graph.
        • Highlight only the "MDR SST" and "Power Dissipation" data, including the labels (e.g. MDR SST). Click on the "Insert" tap at the top of the page.
        • Click on "Line." Several options will appear. Click on "stacked line" option. A graph will appear—but the graph will not be organized properly.
        • To organize the graph, double click on the "Power Dissipation" line on the graph itself. A box will appear titled "series options." Click on "secondary axis." A double line graph will appear with the MDR SST labels on the left-hand side and the Power Dissipation labels on the right-hand side.
        • Next, fix the horizontal or x-axis. To do this, right click on the horizontal or x-axis. A menu will appear. Click on "select data source." Click the "edit" button on the horizontal axis labels. A new box will appear, "axis labels." Highlight the year column from 1949–2009 from the MS Excel sheet (do not highlight "year") and hit "ok."
        • Finally, use the "layout tab" at the top of the page to label all axes and to create a title.

Guided Analysis Questions:

      • What is the relationship between sea surface temperature and wind power? Is there a correlation between the two variables?

Step 4: Research Geoscience Forecast Models (optional, but recommended) (20 min)

Ask students to return to their study groups. Have them analyze the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Models and the United States Geologic Survey (USGS) Sea Level Rise animation model. The NCAR models are temperature projections based on various CO2 emission scenarios (e.g. high and low emissions).

Please note that the Fifth IPCC Assessment Report no longer uses emission scenario projections but rather "representative concentration pathways" or RCP projections based on four greenhouse gas concentrations. The instructor might point out the differences in these projections but also note they both still provide possible climate futures (e.g. temperature projections). These futures, in part, are still based on emissions.

The USGS models are sea level rise projections. These sea level rise projections have state-level data for their metropolitan area in 1-meter intervals. In addition, this model depicts the population affected by the sea level changes.

Note: The NCAR Models are KML files, thus Google Earth is required. The USGS models are web-based programs and only require Internet access. In either case, students can analyze these models together or separately.

Analyze the forecast models from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) Community Climate System Model. Use the air temperature anomaly models from various "scenarios" (e.g. low/high CO2 emissions). Examine the US data and global data. Record your findings in Table 2.

Also, analyze the sea level change model from United States Geological Survey (USGS) Sea Level Rise Animations. It is best to click onto the state (e.g. CT, NY, FL) that you are investigating. Record your findings in Table 2.

Step 5: Construct Initial Working Hypotheses (20 min)

Students should then construct three initial working hypotheses based on the group's data interpretations among all data sets. Show students the guided questions from the student handout to help them complete this task. Make sure to circulate around to each group of students. They may have difficulty in identifying feedback loops with arrows. For instance, one group may identify that increases in CO2 increases the air temperature. They will record these initial working hypotheses in Table 2.

As a group, create a list of three or more "initial working hypotheses" that respond to the problem: To what extent are coastal communities at risk due to climate change? Record these initial hypotheses in Table 2. Consider the following questions when constructing your initial working hypotheses:

  1. What data sets correlate with one another? What are the linkages among the data sets?
  2. Do certain data sets seem to affect other data sets (e.g. feedback loops)? To what extent?
  3. How robust are these correlations, linkages and feedback loops? What is the level of certainty?
  4. How might the working hypotheses predict the future of climate change from your community?

Step 6: Research the Literature (40 min)

Have students read the climate change literature, specifically the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Summary Report for Policy Makers. You can also learn more about the IPCC. Using the jigsaw instructional strategy, have students assign different sections of this report for each person to read. For instance, each student from a group of four can analyze and summarize the data (e.g. emission data) as well as report out the findings from each of the four main sections of this report. These sections include: Section B: Observed Changes in the Climate System, Section C: Drivers of Climate Change, Section D: Understanding the Climate System and its Recent Changes, and Section E: Future Global and Regional Climate Change. Please note that Section C is the shortest one and Section B is the longest. Then, each student can report his or her findings to the group. The group should record its findings in Table 2.

Note: Students can read this report independently (at home). Students can either read the entire report or assign sections similar to the above procedure.

After students read the report, have them correlate their findings from the IPCC Summary Report for Policy Makers with the geoscience data they collected previously.

Read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Summary for Policy Makers. You may divide the task among/between your group members. If you divide the task, you must teach what you learned to your teammates. Record all summaries in Table 2.

Note: To learn more about the IPCC, go to http://www.ipcc.ch/index.htm

You may be interested in finding out more about the science behind climate change and tropical cyclones. There has been a lot of research in this area, and here are a few resources to get you started.

Climate Change Indicators in the United States: Tropical Cyclone Activity from the EPA

Kerry Emanuel's Papers, Data, and Graphics Pertaining to Tropical Cyclone Trends and Variability

You may be interested in finding about more about the bigger societal issue: the costs of building/rebuilding. The links below are all to news articles that can get you started collecting information about the costs of rebuilding coastal communities.

Step 7: Construct a Climate Change Concept Map of Your Study Area (30 min)

Require groups to create a concept map that depicts the interactions between Earth systems (e.g. climate system) and human systems (coastal communities). This activity explicitly addresses systems thinking (e.g. feedback loops). Students may not be familiar with feedback loops. If this is the case, it is recommended that students go to the SERC Feedback Loop webpage. This link is also located in the student pages. This is a generic webpage that discusses positive and negative feedback loops with a few concrete examples. If the instructor is unfamiliar with feedback loops as it relates to this activity, he or she can review the Climate Feedbacks webpage from MET Office from the United Kingdom. This webpage provides good content as it relates to positive and negative climate feedback loops. It is recommended that students do not have this link because it can provide them too much support as they create their concept maps.

Have students follow the guided questions on the student handout to create a concept map on large poster paper. As they create their map, each person should have a role. For instance, there could be a leader (keeps group on task, facilitator), a recorder (who writes notes), a reporter (to the class), and, if needed, a monitor (who keeps track of time). Examples of good student concept maps are shown below.

Increased Global Temperature concept map example


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Increased Global Temperature concept map example 2


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Increased Global Temperature concept map example 3


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Increased Global Temperature concept map example 4


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With your study area group, construct a concept map on poster paper with the evidence collected. This map must have links that depict the relationships (e.g. feedback loops) among the parts of the climate system as well as the human-built system (e.g. coastal communities).

Construction Procedures

  1. Based on what you have learned thus far, create a list of as many concepts as you can think of. Consider the following questions. Note: You may record these concepts on Post-its.
    • What concepts correlate or link with one another?
    • Do certain concepts seem to affect other concepts (e.g. feedback loops)? To what extent?
    • How robust are these correlations, links, and feedback loops? What is the level of certainty?
    • How might the working hypotheses predict the future of climate change from your community?
  2. From the list of concepts, organize and group related concepts.
  3. Connect related concepts using lines with arrows that show a direct relationship
  4. Label each line with words or short phrases that describes the relationship between two or more concepts (e.g. how one concept affects another concept).

Evaluation Procedures

  1. Examine the "lines" and "arrows" that link the concepts to make sure they are valid.
  2. Rearrange and remove concepts to simplify the concept map.
  3. When you are satisfied with your concept map, make sure it is neat and clear.

Step 8: Feedback from Peers (30 min)

Ask students to post their maps around the room so that they can evaluate the other concept maps. For instance, if there are four study area groups (e.g. east, west, north, and south), the south group evaluates the east, west, and north's concept maps. This instructional practice is called a Gallery Walk.

As students evaluate the concept maps, have them record on Post-its two to three statements that they agree with and two to three statements that they disagree with. Students can also record other comments, as needed. Limit each group's evaluation to five minutes per concept map. Also, give students additional time (e.g. five minutes) to review the comments from their own concept map.

Post your group's concept map. Each study area group will then evaluate other the group concept maps. Record what you "agree" with as well as what you "question" on Post-it notes and place them on the concept map.

After all of the group evaluations are complete, review the comments from your concept map. Record what others from the class agreed with as well as the questions others had about your concept map. Based on this feedback, make final revisions to your concept map.

Step 9: Revise the Working Hypotheses and Make Claims (10 min)

Finally, in the last column of Table 2, have students revise their working hypotheses based on their concept map. The hypotheses must respond to the problem: To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities? Guided questions are provided on the student handout.

Reexamine the "initial working hypotheses" from Table 2. In light of the new evidence, create a list of three or more revised hypotheses based on your concept map that provide evidence to answer the problem: To what extent should we build and/or rebuild coastal communities?

Finally, cite a claim that you wish to state—based on your revised working hypotheses—that clearly answers the problem. Record this in the last row of Table 2.

Activity 2.2 Formative Assessment (10 min)

As a way to assess students' knowledge and understanding of the content, have students draw a T-chart and write "I used to think" on the left-hand side of a paper and "but now I know" on the right-hand side. The instructor might collect these from each individual student to better gauge understanding or simply have them share their ideas with the class.

Note: Have students complete this at home or on a blog from your course management system.

Create a T-chart. On the left-hand side, write "I used to think" and on the right-hand side, write "but now I know." Record at least three ideas for each side of the T-chart.

Teaching Notes and Tips

Activity 2.2 will take approximately four hours of class time if it is all done in class. Although some parts can be completed outside of class, most of the activity requires (and benefits from) group work. More importantly, this part of Unit 2 has complex tasks that require the instructor to be present. For instance, as students collect, organize, and analyze their data, they will most likely need guidance from the instructor to interpret visualizations from Google Earth or how to make a MS Excel graph.

If time is an issue, students may read the IPCC Summary Report for Policy Makers at home. This can save at least 30 minutes of class time, perhaps more. However, students must collect the geoscience data before they read the report.

Another alternative to save time is to reduce the amount of data collected, organized and analyzed by students. For instance, the NCAR forecast models can be omitted, but this also provides students with an experience of interpreting forecast computer models.

Other logistical issues:

  • Table 2: Investigating the Problem can be filled out electronically or by hand. If students fill out Table 2 by hand, increase the space for students to record their findings, etc. If students fill out Table 2 electronically, the text boxes will automatically expand. Another option is for students to use Google Docs. Students then can share and edit the document among all group members.
  • Students can record their findings in Table 2 as a group or individually. It is up to the instructor to decide what is best for his or her students.
  • If you are unfamiliar with Gallery Walks or Jigsaws, please refer to the resources.

Assessment

There are two formative assessments for this activity: the concept map (model) and "I used to think, but now I know." It is also recommended that the instructor conduct informal checks of understanding (prompts, questioning, reviewing work) throughout the activity by circulating around the room, especially as students collect, organize, and interpret their data.

The "concept map" can be used to see if students understand the big picture as well as methods of geoscience (e.g. systems thinking such as feedback loops). In addition, this assessment can provide evidence that students understand systems and the interactions among various parts of the system. More information about concepts maps can be found on the On the Cutting Edge Concept Maps website.

"I used to think, but now I know" is a self-assessment and reflection exercise that helps students recognize if and how their thinking has changed during Activity 2.2. This assessment asks students to recall their ideas and highlights how their ideas have changed, which is a metacognitive strategy. This exercise can provide the instructor with significant insights about how students have learned. Further information about this assessment is in the Science Formative Assessment book by Page Keeley. Learn more about metacognition from the On the Cutting Edge website.

References and Resources

Google Earth

KML or KMZ files

MS Excel

Instructional Strategies:

Formative Assessments

  • Concept Maps - from On the Cutting Edge
  • Keeley, P. (2008). Science formative assessments: 75 practical strategies for linking assessment, instruction, and learning. NSTA press. Washington DC.

Alternative Articles (Human Impacts of Climate Change)

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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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