InTeGrate Modules and Courses >A Growing Concern > Instructor Stories
 Earth-focused Modules and Courses for the Undergraduate Classroom
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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 materials are free 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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Instructor Stories and Adaptations

These resources describe how the module was adapted for use in different settings. We hope these stories inspire your own use of the module and give you insight into how to adapt the materials for your classroom.

Sarah Fortner
Sarah Fortner: Geology of the Critical Zone (GEOL 170) at Wittenberg University. This 9-person course completed the module during weeks 4 and 5 of a 16-week semester, with an additional week given to complete the summative fact sheet assignment. The course functions as an introduction to the geology major, but most students take the course to fulfill general education (science and math) requirements. This course meets four times per week (one meeting is a three-hour laboratory). The module was completed during the non-laboratory portion of the class, with laboratories used to explore complementary material at field sites.

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Martha Murphy: Introduction to Environmental Science (ENVS12) at Santa Rosa Junior College. This 25-person course used the module during the last two weeks of a 15-week semester. The course functions as an introduction to the geology major, but most students take the course to fulfill general education (science and math) requirements. This course meets four times per week (one meeting is a three-hour laboratory) and completed the entire module, with four of the activities completed during two lab meetings.

Scherer Photo
Hannah Scherer: Ecological Agriculture: Theory and Practice (ALS 3404) at Virginia Tech. This 15-person course completed the entire module during the second two weeks of a 15-week semester. The course functions as an introduction to ecological agriculture and is a required course for the Civic Agriculture and Food Systems minor. It meets three times per week (one meeting is a three-hour laboratory).

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Additional Instructor Stories

Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman: Using portions of four InTeGrate modules in Physical Geology at Pasadena City College
Elizabeth Nagy-Shadman, Pasadena City College
Replacing lab activities with materials from four InTeGrate modules in an introductory physical geology course at a two-year college I replaced about half of my previous laboratory activities in an introductory physical geology class with ten activities adapted from four Integrate Modules. The students seemed to enjoy the group work and moving around the room, something that I rarely did in previous semesters. I also enjoyed the diversity of teaching techniques.

Laura Rademacher: Environmental Science for Informed Citizens at University of the Pacific
Laura Rademacher, University of the Pacific
My course is an introductory environmental science course. Over time, I've incorporated more opportunities for active learning in the classroom and students respond favorably to spending additional time on the topics they find most compelling. The incorporation of integrate modules has provided new opportunities for active learning in the classroom. Most of the modules lead students through case studies, many of which are focused on regions outside of California and those could broaden my students' perspectives on these issues.

Tara Jo Holmberg: Using the A Growing Concern and Soils, Systems, and Society Modules in Introduction to Environmental Science at Northwestern Connecticut Community College
Tara Holmberg, Northwestern Connecticut Community College
This course was taught within a newly designed 21st century classroom. The 16 students were from a variety of majors, most taking it as their science elective and 3 as a major requirement. This particular class was one of the most engaged I have ever had. While the personality of the class was unique, upbeat, and engaged, the design of the classroom cannot be overlooked as a contributing factor in the success of this implementation.

Robert Loeb: Using the A Growing Concern Module in Introductory Soil Science at Pennsylvania State University-Penn State DuBois
Robert Loeb, Pennsylvania State University-Main Campus
The goal of Introductory Soil Science is to introduce the study of soil properties and processes and their relationships to land use, plant growth, environmental quality, and society. My offering of the course is online and serves a population of students who are primarily majors in the agricultural and earth sciences. Transforming the six units of a Growing Concern from the face-to-face format to the on-line setting resulted in valuable additions in regard to environmental quality and society.

Rachel Pigg: Using InTeGrate Materials in Survey of Life at Presbyterian College
Rachel Pigg, University of Louisville
My nonmajors 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.

Also Related to A Growing Concern

Using Model-Based Reasoning and Experiential Learning to Understand and Improve Sustainability in a Campus Food System
Sep 12 2017 The development of students' ability to address interdisciplinary problems and incorporate systems thinking are essential attributes of the materials developed through the InTeGrate project. This webinar describes experiential learning and work-learning strategies that can be used to complement approaches featured in several InTeGrate modules for incorporating sustainability into degree programs using a local institutional context. This webinar features the work by Geoff Habron who has used the model-based reasoning approach developed by the NSF-funded EMBeRS project to help students understand their assumptions about the campus food system and track the development of their shared understanding through a series of individual and group reflections and systems mapping exercises (model-based reasoning). The goal is for students to grasp the complexity, yet feasibility, of improving the sustainability of the food system with a focus on environmental responsibility and social justice. Geoff's work seeks to tackle the challenge of understanding, teaching, and employing learning processes that enable diverse disciplinary perspectives to be integrated into more comprehensive conceptual frameworks that enable more effective conduct of interdisciplinary and actionable socio-environmental science. The objectives of this webinar are: a) introduce the theory of model-based reasoning as an experiential learning tool to foster thinking across disciplinary boundaries; b) demonstrate the development of planning and implementation of partnerships with campus based food system units, and c) illustrate examples of student learning and proposed systems changes that emerged

Assessing the Impact of InTeGrate Materials in Introductory Environmental Science and Botany Courses
Aug 31 2017 Using InTeGrate modules in an Introduction to Environmental Science course since the Spring of 2016 has resulted in measurable gains in student achievement in objectives related to soils, agriculture, mining, climate change, among other topics. Utilizing the QUBES InTeGrate Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN) in Spring 2016 was invaluable for guidance with modifying and launching the initial modules used in the course: 'A Growing Concern' and 'Soils, Systems, and Society.' Additional modules were added in the Fall of 2016 to strengthen the course and implementations of previous modules were improved. Recent experiences as a co-mentor for QUBES InTeGrate FMN in Spring 2017, has led to new depths of reflection, additional modules utilized, and new courses employed. Student feedback and results of assessments will be shared as part of the session.

Moving sustainability forward through community partnerships, collaborative initiatives, and earth advocacy
May 8 2017 Service to communities and earth advocacy empowers students and faculty as change agents. There are numerous approaches to introduce these topics, but integrating them into the curriculum and campus ethos takes sustained effort. This webinar will provide examples and strategies to incorporate these topics into your course, program, or campus. Sarah Fortner, the Wittenberg University Implementation program leader and A Growing Concern module co-author, will provide strategies for partnering with local experts to tackle community challenges or to advocate for policy change. She will highlight a course and programmatic approach centered around collecting or analyzing data. Sean Cornell, the Shippensburg University Implementation program leader and Coastal Processes, Hazards, and Society course co-author, will discuss the successes of the implementation program to integrate sustainability into general education curriculum and enhance service-learning, co-curricular opportunities for students, and professional development opportunities for faculty. The webinar will include 30 minutes of presentations and 25 minutes of discussion. Participants are encouraged to both ask questions of the presenters and discuss their own experiences regarding sustainability and serving communities.

Fostering Systems Thinking in Your Students
Mar 22 2017 Systems thinking can help students analyze complex systems and it is well-suited to teaching about Earth in a societal context. Systems thinking is prevalent across the curriculum, especially with regard to sustainability issues. Lisa Gilbert, Systems Thinking module co-author, will introduce systems thinking, provide an approach to building students' systems thinking skills, and showcase a systems thinking example that can be used in any course. Karl Kreutz, Systems Thinking module co-author, will discuss systems modeling and feedback systems. In addition, he will provide an example of a feedback system using Arctic sea ice. The webinar will include 30 minutes of presentations and 25 minutes of discussion. Participants are encouraged to both ask questions of the presenters and discuss their own experiences regarding systems thinking for their discipline or context.

Sustainability Across the Curriculum
Mar 2 2017 Sustainability is emerging as a central theme for teaching about the environment, whether it is from the perspective of science, economics, politics, or society. Teaching about sustainability creates an opportunity to connect classroom material to society. Camelia Kantor, Claflin University's InTeGrate Implementation Program leader, will discuss the importance of Earth Science content and awareness and how integrated and problem-based learning environments help contextualize the need for sustainability. Rachel Teasdale, CSU–Chico's Implementation Program leader, will discuss the Sustainability Pathway general education program and how data-rich and societally relevant teaching activities can be used in STEM and non-STEM courses. The webinar will include 30 minutes of presentations and 25 minutes of discussion. Participants are encouraged to both ask questions of the presenters and discuss their own experiences regarding sustainability across the curriculum.

Developing Systems Thinking
Oct 23 2015 Friday, Oct 23, 2015 × 9:00 am Pacific | 10:00 am Mountain | 11:00 am Central | 12:00 pm Eastern Leader: Hannah Scherer, Virginia Tech This event has already taken place. See the recording below. Jump down ...

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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.
Explore the Collection »