Integrate > Teaching for Sustainability

InTeGrate Teaching Materials


InTeGrate materials engage students in understanding the earth system as it intertwines with key societal issues. They challenge students to address interdisciplinary problems, engage in geoscientific habits of mind, work with authentic geoscience data and develop system thinking. 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.
Climate of Change
Sustainability Topics: Climate Change
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, College Lower (13-14)
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In this two to three week module, students explore short-term climate variability resulting from atmosphere-ocean-ice interactions. The module promotes awareness of past and contemporary cultures and regions strongly affected by permanently altered or increasingly uncertain climates as students consider human adaptation to climate fluctuations. Students investigate the dynamics and impacts associated with climate variability by examining and analyzing atmosphere, ocean, and ice data; completing a series of readings; and engaging in group discussions. Materials and teaching descriptions for gallery walks, interactive discussions, group work, and lab exercises are provided. Learn more in this video overview of the module »
Natural Hazards and Risks: Hurricanes
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Risk & Resilience
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level
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Making the difficult decision to evacuate before a hurricane makes landfall can save lives and property. This two week module explores how hurricanes connect the ocean-atmosphere-terrestrial systems and society. Students evaluate how hurricane hazards and risks have changed with coastal development. Students use data to track historic hurricanes and compare the impacts from different hurricanes. The module culminates in a role-playing activity in which students identify and represent stakeholders facing hypothetical hurricane evacuation in their town.
Exploring Geoscience Methods
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This module gives pre-service secondary science teachers the opportunity to use and reflect on geoscientific thinking. The module begins with an exploration of how geoscience methods are similar to and different from the stereotypical experimental scientific method. Then, students use methods of geoscience (e.g., systems thinking, multiple converging lines of evidence, developing spatial and temporal frameworks) in a data-rich, interdisciplinary exploration of the human impacts of global climate change. They will use spatial and temporal data, data visualizations and Google Earth to address the scientific question "To what extent are coastal communities at risk due to climate change?" and the socio-scientific issue "To what extent should we build or re-build coastal communities?" Finally, pre-service teachers explore high-quality, freely available curricular resources to develop a standards-based, interdisciplinary lesson that embeds geoscientific thinking and content as part of biology, chemistry, Earth science, physics or social science instruction. Pre-service teachers further explore societal impacts in the lessons that they develop. The module can be taught in 6-12 hours of class time, plus substantial homework.
Human's Dependence on Earth's Mineral Resources
Sustainability Topics: Natural Resources:Mineral Resources
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Despite humans' heavy reliance on Earth's mineral resources, few think about where the products they use come from and what it took to produce them. This module addresses that disconnect by combining learning about rocks and minerals (and how these become the products students use), methods of mineral resource discovery and extraction, and the impact of mineral resource use. This module allows important geoscience concepts to be taught in the context of important and immediate societal issues while also asking students to confront human issues such as environmental justice, economics, personal choice, and politics that may arise due to obtaining, beneficiating, transporting, trading, using, and disposing of natural resources.
A Growing Concern: Sustaining Soil Resources through Local Decision Making
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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Continued agricultural productivity and the ability to feed the earth's growing population hinges on understanding how to manage soil resources. This module addresses this need by providing students the opportunity to examine the differences between intensively managed agricultural landscapes (e.g. grazelands, conventional tillage) and "natural" landscapes (forested or prairie). Using learning-centered strategies, students will develop a working knowledge of soil physical properties and geospatial data at both local and global scales. The module culminates with a project centered on making sustainable soil management decisions under global climate change.
Map Your Hazards! – Assessing Hazards, Vulnerability and Risk
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level
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The Map Your Hazards module provides students an interactive mechanism to engage in place-based exploration of natural hazards, social vulnerability, risk and the factors that shape their communities perception of natural hazards and risk. The module is interdisciplinary in nature as it allows students to integrate interdisciplinary geoscience and social science methodologies to understand societal impacts that result from natural hazards. Students will (1) identify and apply credible geologic and social science datasets to identify hazards and social vulnerability within their region, (2) collect and evaluate survey data on the knowledge, risk perception and preparedness within their social networks, and (3) make recommendations, based on the findings of their work, to potential stakeholders for continued development of a prepared, resilient community. In summary, students will gain insight into how our knowledge and perspectives of the world shape how we interact with it, and how we promote and build resilient communities through understanding the relationship between human systems (built environment) and natural systems.
Interactions between Water, Earth’s Surface, and Human Activity
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Water & Watersheds
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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This two-week (~10-hour) module focuses on water and its importance to humans, both as a limited resource and in shaping Earth's surface. Water's flow through the hydrologic cycle is driven by Earth's external energy source – the Sun. Running water also moves and deposits sediment that ultimately becomes part of the rock cycle, whose energy source also includes Earth's internal heat energy. Students see that river systems change shape over time, are influenced by climate and by human activity, and affect human activity, for example through flooding. Students develop their understanding while working in small groups, through interaction with simplified physical models of complicated systems, with Google Earth images of stream profiles in different climates, and with real river flooding data sets. Activities within this module are aimed at content courses for pre-service teachers, but they also could be adapted to other undergraduate introductory geoscience or environmental science courses.
Living on the Edge
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards
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This module, intended to take two weeks in an introductory-level class, is divided into three units that focus on geologic hazards and associated risks at representative plate boundary settings: transform, divergent and convergent. Students are assumed to be familiar with the basics of plate tectonics, including the general characteristics of plate boundaries. Although designed to be used in the sequence transform → divergent → convergent, each plate boundary unit is adaptable for use on its own. Each plate boundary unit is designed to be equivalent to two one-hour class sessions and includes: a) accounts of historically important earthquakes and/or volcanic eruptions that have occurred in that setting, b) exploration and interpretation of scientific data related to the geologic processes responsible for the geologic hazard(s), c) analysis of the effects on and risks to human populations, and d) development of strategies to mitigate risks. At the end of each unit, student learning is assessed by their application of unit content to a new location in a similar plate boundary setting.
Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources
Sustainability Topics: Water & Watersheds, Social & Environmental Justice, Human Health & Well-being, Cultures, Ethics, & Values
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This module enables students to identify the freshwater components of the hydrologic cycle and connect them to the basic need of all human beings for equal access to clean freshwater. This is accomplished by framing the water science within theories of environmental justice defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies."
Imaging Active Tectonics with InSAR and LiDAR data
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Risk & Resilience
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
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In this module, students use LiDAR and InSAR data to understand the earthquake cycle, from individual earthquakes to landscape-forming timescales. This is motivated by consideration of earthquake hazards, specifically the vulnerability of the infrastructural lifelines upon which society depends. Five units are provided, including lecture materials, discussions, paper exercises, group activities that can be deployed either as gallery walks or computer exercises, an exercise for modeling InSAR data using an online tool, and a culminating assignment. These materials are intended for inclusion in upper-level undergraduate classes in structural geology, tectonics or geophysics.
Ice Mass and Sea Level Changes
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Climate Change
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, College Lower (13-14)
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In this 2-3 week module, students interpret geodetic data from Greenland to assess spatial patterns and magnitudes of ice mass change and consider mechanisms and timescales for ice mass loss. They also investigate the relationship between ice mass change and global and regional sea level with an emphasis on the ongoing and future implications of sea level change on civilization. Materials for student reading and preparation exercises, in-class discussions, lab exercises, small group activities, gallery walks, and wall walks are provided, as well as teaching tips and suggestions for modifications for a variety of class formats.
Soils, Systems, and Society
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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This inquiry based module is designed for use in a preservice K-8 science methods course, but Units 1-3 could easily be modified for other types of courses. The module promotes geoscientific and systems thinking and emphasizes strong interdisciplinary connections between science content and society through locally relevant issues. This module consists of course discussions, map analysis, hands-on soil investigations, concept mapping of Earth systems, and the development of a standards-aligned K-8 Soils, Systems, and Society Kit composed of lesson plans, data sources, activities and artifacts for use in future elementary and middle school classrooms.
Cli-Fi: Climate Science in Literary Texts
Sustainability Topics: Climate Change
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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This module addresses both aspects of climate literacy: understanding of climate science through data analysis and interpretation, and understanding of literary tools and techniques through which climate science is portrayed. The module is designed to be completed in introductory natural science classes where literature is not typically included as well as in humanities classes where climate change science is not normally addressed. Students will engage in activities that address both climate change science and climate change literature, including graphing data, working in groups to analyze and interpret data, creating a concept map, conducting rhetorical analyses, and writing and responding to a blog.
Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources - Spanish Adaptation
Sustainability Topics: Water & Watersheds, Cultures, Ethics, & Values
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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This module enables Spanish-language students to identify the freshwater components of the hydrologic cycle and connect them to the basic need of all human beings for equal access to clean freshwater. This is accomplished by framing the water science within theories of environmental justice defined by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as "the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies." Students articulate the principles of environmental justice as they relate to examples of water scarcity and contamination in specific cases in Latin American and the Southwest U.S.
Mapping the Environment with Sensory Perception
Sustainability Topics: Social & Environmental Justice, Human Impact & Footprint, Pollution & Waste
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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This module connects students' personal sensory experiences to environmental data collected and analyzed by geoscientists, cultural impacts documented by social scientists, and the communication of environmental conditions and advocacy for remedial action crafted by rhetoricians. Sensory data (specifically smells and sounds) will be collected and used to trace the movement of contaminants through the environmental system. While geoscientists may ultimately rely upon chemical analyses of water, soil, and air samples, the initial impact of contamination is most often noted when people detect sensorial alterations of their lived spaces. Mapping sensory impacts will help students develop an understanding of how contaminants move through the natural environment; how data is collected to identify contaminants, monitor movement, and identify sources; and how individuals living in proximity to environmental hazards are directly impacted by those hazards. Students will also examine the ways in which information about environmental hazards is conveyed to different audiences and will apply their understanding by developing maps that convey the data they have collected to a specific audience.
Water Sustainability in Cities
Sustainability Topics: Design & Planning, Natural Resources, Technology, Water & Watersheds
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
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This nine-unit module addresses the grand challenge of water system sustainability in cities, and includes aspects of hydrologic and atmospheric processes, clean water, low-impact development, green infrastructure, flood risk, and climate variability. The module consists of nine integrated lessons spanning approximately three weeks of classroom instruction. The lessons use data-driven exercises and the flipped classroom pedagogical approach. The lessons provide a foundation in urban water systems, basic hydrologic and atmospheric processes, and sustainable and resilient infrastructure planning and decision making. Overall, the module highlights the benefits of the interconnections of geoscience, engineering, and other disciplines in the pursuit of water sustainability in cities.
Carbon, Climate, and Energy Resources
Sustainability Topics: Energy, Human Impact & Footprint, Cycles & Systems:Carbon Cycle, Climate Change
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level
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This two-week module focuses on fostering a deeper understanding of the carbon cycle and what happens when it is perturbed. In six self-contained units that would fit well in classes such as Physical Geology, Historical Geology, or Environmental Geology, students will develop their critical thinking skills, explore the dynamics of Earth's carbon cycle through biogeochemistry and the perspective of "deep time," and learn how carbon was sequestered to produce traditional and nontraditional fossil fuels. Now that these subterranean carbon reservoirs have been tapped, students will examine the current state of carbon cycle destabilization, and its potential consequences, before concluding with an examination of strategies available to society, including carbon taxation, artificial sequestration, and several kinds of geoengineering.
Systems Thinking
Sustainability Topics: Cycles & Systems
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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The Systems Thinking Module provides a foundation for systems thinking throughout the InTeGrate materials. Units 1 and 2 of this module are designed to be used early within a course and then reinforced later; Units 3-5 give students data-rich modeling experiences; Unit 6 is an interactive summative activity. Specifically, this module prepares students to address complex systems issues for a sustainable future by 1) identifying the parts of a system and explaining how the parts interact, 2) developing skills to model complex systems using data and examples relevant to the course and 3) applying a systems approach to evaluate a societal challenge. This InTeGrate module fills a key need to educate students about the importance of the systems approach, uses examples that involve data and the construction and manipulation of systems models, and helps students approach complex, interdisciplinary problems.
Renewable Energy and Environmental Sustainability
Sustainability Topics: Technology, Energy
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
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This course will explore a variety of sustainable technologies with emphasis on understanding the fundamental scientific properties underlying each. Students will also examine appropriate applications of the technologies and evaluate their use with environmental and economic considerations. The goal of this course is to teach basic geosciences principles through an exploration of environmentally sustainable technologies. The course consists of eleven modules, each of which can be used independently of the others. The course is designed to be open to all undergraduate students on a college campus and its interdisciplinary approach is served by a diverse enrollment. Students will explore how each technology works, its importance in addressing one or more grand challenges in the geosciences, and the social and economic implications associated with that technology and competing approaches. Pedagogy will stress hands-on experimentation and learner-centered approaches. The design will minimize the role of lecturing and promote a variety of active learning approaches in a flipped classroom setting.
Analyzing High Resolution Topography with TLS and SfM
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Technology, Natural Hazards
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
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Part of GETSI Field Collection: Geodetic imaging technologies have emerged as critical tools for a range of earth science research applications from hazard assessment to change detection to stratigraphic sequence analysis. In this module students learn to conduct terrestrial laser scanner (TLS) and/or Structure from Motion (SfM) surveys to address real field research questions of importance to society. Both geodetic methods generate high resolution topographic data and have widespread research applications in geodesy, geomorphology, structural geology, and more. The module can be implemented in four- to five-day field course or as several weeks of a semester course. Prepared data sets are available for courses unable to collect data directly. Instructors can request support for some types of technical assistance from UNAVCO, which runs NSF's Geodetic Facility.
Earth's Thermostat
Sustainability Topics: Climate Change
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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Climate change is one of the most critical issues facing society today. The 2013 IPCC report states that warming of the climate system is unequivocal, yet the the underlying solar, atmospheric, cryospheric, and oceanic processes governing Earth's climate remain poorly understood by the public at large. Our module seeks to bridge this gap in knowledge by helping students understand Earth's energy balance and climate, its sensitivity to changes in its drivers, and how it interacts with Earth's other systems with a data- and model-driven approach.
Ocean Sustainability
Sustainability Topics: Natural Resources:Ocean/Coastal Resources
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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This two- to three-week, six-unit module introduces the importance of oceans, basic ocean processes, and impacts of human activity on ocean health. It aims to increase awareness of our dependence on and responsibility for the largest habitat on Earth. Materials encourage systems thinking by addressing physical, chemical, geological, and biological aspects of the oceans. Students study the oceans from these multiple perspectives using scientific data and engaging activities designed to support higher-level thinking.
An Ecosystem Services Approach to Water Resources
Sustainability Topics: Cycles & Systems:Hydrologic cycle, Water & Watersheds, Design & Planning
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
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In this three-week module, students will investigate the ecosystem services associated with local land use and its relation to water. Students will be introduced to ecosystem services as a way of integrating the components of the hydrologic cycle as a system, synthesizing the interaction between the hydrosphere, geosphere, and biosphere, and linking those processes to the needs and aspirations of particular communities in particular places. Rezoning, annexation, and land-use changes are some of the most common issues that come before local governing bodies; many of these changes involve natural areas and green spaces becoming industrial, commercial, or residential developments. By the end of the module, students will be equipped to actively engage in the public dialogues that are typically part of the process, from understanding and analyzing a problem to presenting reasonable solutions from particular stakeholders' perspectives.
Coastal Processes, Hazards and Society
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards
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This blended and online course will provide students with a global perspective of coastal landscapes, the processes responsible for their formation, diversity, and change over time, as well as societal responses to current changes in the coastal zones around the world. Active learning elements include analyzing real data sets and applying critical thinking and problem-solving skills to real-world coastal issues that affect human populations. Students will complete a capstone project in which they integrate the key elements of the units in a systems thinking framework. The course comprises twelve modules, each lasting a week. Since there is no textbook that covers the course topics, the materials for students are the backbone of the course. The materials for teachers provide useful information on how to make the most of the student materials.
GPS, Strain, and Earthquakes
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
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Understanding how the Earth's crust deforms is crucial in a variety of geoscience disciplines, including structural geology, tectonics, and hazards assessment (earthquake, volcano, landslide). With the installation of numerous high precision Global Positioning System (GPS) stations, our ability to measure this deformation (strain) has increased dramatically, but GPS data are still only rarely included in undergraduate courses, even for geoscience majors. In this module students analyze GPS velocity data from triangles of adjacent GPS stations to determine the local strain. Students learn about strain, strain ellipses, GPS, and how to tie these to regional geology and ongoing societal hazards. A case study from the 2014 South Napa earthquake helps students make connections between interseismic strain and earthquake displacements.
The Wicked Problem of Global Food Security
Sustainability Topics: Food Systems & Agriculture
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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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 continue to be one of the the most pressing issues facing our planet. In this three-week module, we take an Earth systems approach to understanding and addressing world food insecurity issues, and explore how social, economic, and political factors impact decision-making and can improve or compromise the biogeochemical interactions provided by the Earth system as they pertain to food production. Students will explore the very factors that cause food insecurity (including climate, socio-economic, and physical) through readings, lecture, case studies, and geospatial analysis using ArcGIS Online. The module will culminate with a summative assignment where students will design a community-based action plan utilizing a variety of data sources addressing food insecurity in a location of their choosing.
Water, Agriculture, and Sustainability
Sustainability Topics: Food Systems & Agriculture, Natural Resources, Water & Watersheds, Human Impact & Footprint
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
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Water is the most critical substance for the sustenance of life, but the prognosis for the quality and supply of water resources in much of the world is somewhere between troubling and dire. This module provides a framework for students to learn about how people interact with water, peer into our water future, and consider ways we might foster more sustainability in water management. After assessing our major water challenges, the module has students learn about the concepts of water sustainability, virtual water trade, and water footprints. The focus then turns to the interplay between agriculture and water resources, as agriculture has the greatest impact on freshwater consumption and quality. The module has students use several types of data to understand the patterns of crop irrigation in the United States and link this to groundwater levels in different parts of the country. The module also has students assess how agriculture impacts the quality of freshwater resources and employ systems thinking as it relates to nutrient runoff and the development of the Gulf of Mexico Dead Zones.
Water: Science and Society
Sustainability Topics: Water & Watersheds
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, College Lower (13-14)
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Water: Science and Society is a 10-module (12-week) general education course focused on the interrelationships between water and human activities from a science and policy standpoint. The course blends key readings with activities (e.g. data analysis, plotting, exploration of simple models) designed to investigate the physical and chemical processes that determine water occurrence, movement, and quality.
Changing Biosphere
Sustainability Topics: Ecosystems, Biodiversity
Grade Level: High School (9-12), College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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This module will give students a series of experiences exploring relationships among changes in the geosphere, hydrosphere, atmosphere, and biosphere. By studying a series of historical and current examples of the interconnections between organisms and their environments, students will be able to discuss the dynamic and evolving nature of ecosystems, explain the relationship between diversity and stability, and analyze the concept of ecosystem health in a changing world. The overarching goal is to have students synthesize this information to develop a working knowledge of how scientists view humans as actors in natural systems. Our understanding of the long-term consequences of the ways in which we engineer and manipulate our environment is informed by our scientific study of Earth systems.
Critical Zone Science
Sustainability Topics: Ecosystems, Cycles & Systems
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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This course introduces and examines the Critical Zone (CZ), Earth's permeable layer that extends from the top of vegetation to the bottom of the fresh groundwater zone. It is a constantly evolving boundary layer where rock, soil, water, air, and living organisms interact to regulate the landscape and natural habitats, and determine the availability of life-sustaining resources, including our food production and water quality. CZ science is a highly interdisciplinary and international pursuit that depends upon effective and informed trans-disciplinary science. This course focuses on the large quantity of interdisciplinary data available from the existing National Science Foundation (NSF)-funded CZ Observatories (CZO) and utilizes readings, discussions, presentations, and cutting-edge learning activities.
Regulating Carbon Emissions
Sustainability Topics: Human Impact & Footprint, Pollution & Waste, Energy, Climate Change
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level
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In this 3+ week module, students will experience the integration of climate science, economics, and law in the formulation of federal policy to address climate change. The module is interdisciplinary and interactive. Students will use an educational, web-based Dynamic Integrated Climate-Economy model (webDICE) to estimate the social costs of climate change and its abatement under different future emission scenarios. They will also play the Carbon Emissions Game to gain an understanding of the tradeoffs amongst different approaches to regulating carbon emissions. Upon completion, students will be able to explain the scientific evidence for man-made climate change from fossil fuel emissions, the policy options available for achieving emission reductions (e.g., emissions trading, carbon tax), and the legal basis for regulating carbon pollution under the Clean Air Act. The module emphasizes the importance of systems thinking when seeking viable solutions to complex socio-environmental problems like climate change. The capstone assignment asks students to write an Op-Ed arguing for the need to regulate carbon emissions in a Role, Audience, Format, Topic (RAFT) writing exercise. This module promotes responsible stewardship of the Earth.
Measuring Water Resources
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Natural Resources, Water & Watersheds
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16), College Lower (13-14)
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Measuring water resources such as groundwater and snowpack is challenging, but the advent of satellite gravity measurements and hydrologic GPS applications can augment traditional methods. This module gives students the unique opportunity to learn these newer methods alongside more traditional ones of groundwater wells and SNOTEL stations. They determine the pros/cons, uncertainty, and spatial scales of different methods. Droughts in the High Plains Aquifer and California are used as case studies. In the summative assessment, students pull together what they have learned and write a report with recommendations for policy makers.
Major Storms and Community Resilience
Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Human Health & Well-being, Risk & Resilience, Civil Society & Governance
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, College Lower (13-14)
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Extreme storms have major impacts on the communities that lie in their path. Many climate models predict increased frequency of heavy rains and icing events, freak storms, and severe weather within the continental United States as a result of ongoing climate changes. In many locales, risk factors for such economically damaging events are no longer accurately predicted by historical trend analyses. In addition, such variables as time of year, tidal conditions, and temperature can exacerbate the severity of a storm's impact. A community's ability to respond to a major storm, and to exhibit resilience afterwards, depends on its capabilities in risk assessment, management, and preparedness. Because of the rapid pace of changes within the global climate system, preparedness for future risks now also depends on understanding that old paradigms about risk may no longer apply. New risk models must take into account complex and incompletely identified geosystem feedbacks. Community resilience, therefore, increasingly depends on adapting to an uncertain level of risk from weather extremes.
Lead in the Environment
Sustainability Topics: Social & Environmental Justice, Civil Society & Governance, Human Health & Well-being, Human Impact & Footprint, Pollution & Waste
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), College Upper (15-16)
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The Lead in the Environment module is designed to integrate multiple disciplines to inform solutions to the ongoing burden of childhood lead poisoning. This module addresses the systems dynamics of lead within the human body, in individual households, and in communities and regions over time. Students use real data reflecting the distribution of residual lead in the environment and the incidence of elevated blood lead levels to explore patterns of disparities in both risk and health outcomes. Students evaluate policy strategies that have been developed across multiple agencies and scales and recommend appropriate courses of action to reduce risk of exposure.
Modeling Earth Systems
Sustainability Topics: Cycles & Systems:Carbon Cycle, Climate Change, Cycles & Systems, Hydrologic cycle
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
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In this course, we develop the qualitative and quantitative tools for constructing, experimenting with, and interpreting dynamic models of different components of the Earth system. The integrated set of ten modules within this course explores a range of systems that all relate to the dynamics of Earth's climate, including interactions with humans. The course is aimed at an intermediate-level geoscience student with some knowledge of mathematics, physics, chemistry, and biology, which form the foundation for building and understanding computer models of these systems.
Surface Process Hazards
from GETSI

This module was developed by the GETSI project which features geodetic data and quantitative skills applied to societally important issues.

These materials were developed using the InTeGrate process, but with a stronger focus on quantitative skills rather than systems thinking.


Sustainability Topics: Natural Hazards, Risk & Resilience
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
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Worldwide mass wasting causes hundreds if not thousands of deaths per year and billions of dollars in damages. Many of these losses would be preventable if societies prioritized landslide mitigation. In this 2-3 week module, students use a variety of geodetic and other data to analyze the natural and human characteristics of landscapes that contribute to mass wasting hazards. Most of the geodetic data sets are high resolution topography from Lidar and radar, but some InSAR data are also included. Students consider the environmental and societal impacts of mass wasting and landslides as well as the physical factors behind mass movements. Materials for student reading and preparation exercises, in-class discussions, lab exercises, small group activities, gallery walks, and a final project are provided, as well as teaching tips and suggestions for modifications for a variety of class formats. Case study sites include Peru, Italy, and a variety of North American sites from Alaska to Utah to New York.
Food as the Foundation for Healthy Communities
Sustainability Topics: Social & Environmental Justice, Human Health & Well-being, Food Systems & Agriculture
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level, College Lower (13-14)
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The movement toward sustainable communities has brought into focus the centrality of food in our everyday lives and its myriad social, economic, and environmental connections. The purpose of this module, Food as the Foundation for Healthy Communities, is to position students to have engaging conversations about the social, economic, and environmental relationships between food, food producers, and health outcomes. The framework of this module is built on the platform of the food-energy-water connections in the context of community empowerment and environmental justice. This module offers students an opportunity to examine and refine their own perceptions regarding food production, good food access, and health outcomes. This module's design and format makes the conversation about good food and better health outcomes an attractive one—for both teachers and students. Students will see individual and community empowerment through sustainable food production efforts and food networks based on a range of partnerships. Engaging students in meaningful conversations and exchange of ideas about the relationships between food and health outcomes will inspire students to participate in the capacity building of their own communities with the goal of seeing fresh, affordable, accessible foods and improved health as commonplace. Participants will evaluate primary and secondary data sources, interpret findings, and synthesize information. The grand challenge is for human beings to return to a way of living that acknowledges that we will always be dependent on the natural environment and its offerings.
Learn more about using these materials in specific contexts:

Dive Deep and Find Individual Sustainability Activities for your Classroom

A great way to get started with InTeGrate materials is to find a single activity that you can work into an existing course. This link will allow you to explore both specific activities within the InTeGrate modules above as well as activities from the community collection. This broader collection draws from multiple projects to provide sustainability related activities contributed by educators across the country.

Find individual InTeGrate teaching activities now »

Strategies

These strategies are embedded in the InTeGrate teaching materials above. Explore these strategies in more depth:


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