Robert MacKay: Using Earth's Thermostat in Meteorology 101: The Atmosphere and the Environment at Clark College
About this CourseThis course is an introductory meteorology course for non-science majors.
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
The Earth's Thermostat module engaged my introductory meteorology students in actively learning about energy flows and balances within the Earth system. Our module units help my student learn by analyzing data using the methods of geoscience. Systems thinking in relation to Earth's energy balance climate and society is also a central theme of our module.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterialsI was able to easily use the materials without modification. However, during the first phase of the pilot I had to omit some aspects of each activity because of time constraints. Knowing this has inspired our team to streamline our module to better fit the time available in a standard 50 minute period.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
My course is a 10 week course and the module fit very well into the existing course structure. Units 1 and 2 were used in week 2 and 3, Unit 3 used in week 4, Units 4 and 5 in week 6, and Unit 6 in week 9. In a future class, I will likely introduce Unit 3 earlier to allow for more continued reference to systems thinking ideas throughout the remainder of the course. The material presented in Units 1 and 2 was important in my course for understanding both weather and climate, so was used throughout the course. Students are encouraged to use a systems thinking approach after being introduced to these ideas in Unit 3. Unit 3 also set the stage for the climatic effects of volcanoes which was essential for the capstone project of Unit 6. Units 4 and 5 provided a three dimensional perspective to Earth's climate system which was helpful in discussing climate change issues towards the end of the course.