Strengths of the Module
Undergraduates explore soil erosion challenges in the context of agricultural land management and climate change. Soil erosion and solutions are explored through an active learning environment (e.g. physical modeling, think-pair-share, and jigsaw exercises), encouraging critical thinking and reflection. The entire process requires that students develop interdisciplinary thinking skills to synthesize how soil erosion relates to land management decision-making.
Students investigate the basic interactions between Earth's spheres, a key component of which is the positive feedback between agricultural practices and the sustainability of soil as a vital resource. They apply systems thinking as they consider how predicted changes in climate will impact soil sustainability in their local area.
Students challenge their conceptual models about soil erosion and sustainability through the use of real-world geoscientific data, both data they generate and data gathered from existing USGS and USDA databases. In the process, they develop data collection and analysis skills and the ability to access existing data using technology tools.
Students gain an understanding of the nature and methods of geoscience through building observational skills, using charts to characterize soil samples, and working with geospatial data to understand how humans alter geologic rates of change. Geoscientific habits of mind will grow through working with authentic data and translating scaffolded knowledge into decision-making as students take on the role of agricultural "experts."
A great fit for courses in:
- Intro Geology
- Intro Environmental Science
- Intro Soil Science
- Interdisciplinary Courses
- Sustainability Courses
Table of Contents
- Instructor Materials: Overview of the Growing Concern Module
Unit 1Impacts of Land Use Unit 2Soil Characteristics & Their Relationship to Land Use Practices Unit 3Natural and Agricultural Erosion Rates Unit 4Using SoilWeb to Investigate the Soil Beneath You Unit 5Predicting the Effects of Climate Change on Soil Loss Unit 6Creating an Agricultural "Fact Sheet"
- Student Materials
- Instructor Stories
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