For the InstructorThese student materials complement the A Growing Concern Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Unit 1: Impacts of Land Use
You have spent time in this unit making observations of both non-agricultural and agricultural landscapes, exploring their similarities and differences, and how the obvious physiographic impacts of agricultural land use compare to un-impacted non-agricultural ("natural") land. Take some time now to look at the bigger picture – In making observations of the impacts humans have interacting with the landscapes you observed you are observing the interaction of the biosphere (where all life exists) with the geosphere (the physical earth). If you observed that rainfall or the weather and climate may have impacted the landscapes then you were observing the interaction of the hydrosphere (where water exists) and the atmosphere with the geosphere. These spheres are all parts of the Earth System and, as you observed, they all interact with one another. See if you can make some more connections.
For each photo below, place the letter of each Earth System sphere you observe in that photo in the blanks beneath that photo (it may help to first read the photo captions). Use only the spheres that you can actually see (you cannot see air). You may not necessarily use all of the blanks under each photo. Then draw lines connecting the letter of each sphere to other spheres with which it is interacting.
- A. Biosphere
- B. Geosphere
- C. Atmosphere
- D. Hydrosphere
Observations and reflection:
Did you observe that any of the spheres was not interacting with any or all of the other spheres in a photo? If yes, explain how this is possible. If no, explain why this is. Wrap up by picking the pathway that connects two Earth System spheres (as shown on one of the photos) that you think is the most important to sustain life on earth. Briefly reflect on and discuss why you think it is the most important pathway and what you think humans can do to keep these two systems interacting in a sustainable manner.