Initial Publication Date: June 16, 2016

Rachel Pigg: Using InTeGrate Materials in Survey of Life at Presbyterian College

About this Course

A general education course, mostly freshman students.


3 50-min lectures + 1 3-hr lab per wk

A Success Story in Building Student Engagement

My non-majors biology students enjoyed the new content provided by three InTeGrate modules: (1) Interactions between Water, Earth's Surface, and Human Activity, (2) Climate of Change, and (3) A Growing Concern. Elements and exercises from all three were interleaved into existing course content, which greatly enhanced student engagement in lecture and lab.

I strongly recommend using the InTeGrate resources in your classroom. Although originally conceived for geology courses, their content is easily incorporated into biology courses that emphasize ecosystem ecology and resource management.

My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterials

To utilize InTeGrate content in my courses, I could not implement a single module in its entirety. Instead, I gleaned various homework and classroom exercises from 3 different modules and incorporated all into existing units of my course.

Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course

My course is 1 semester (13 weeks). Content from Interactions between Water, Earth's Surface, and Human Activity was incorporated into an existing unit called "Energy Flows, Nutrients Cycle." In this unit, the roles of water and human activity in 3 nutrient cycles (phosphorus, nitrogen, and carbon) are discussed. Content from Climate of Change was incorporated into a unit called "Dimensions of Biodiversity." In this unit, forces causing speciation and extinction across scales (including climate change) are explored. Finally, content from A Growing Concern was used to enhance a unit called "The Food Crisis," in which plants, ecosystem services, and agricultural practices are reviewed and discussed.


See my unit-by-unit breakdown for this information and my suggestions for improvements in future implementations.


As this course is for non-majors, scientific literacy is the primary goal. Class averages on both formative and summative assessments demonstrated proficiency. Summative assessment averages were higher than formative assessment averages, suggesting learning gains.

Classroom Context