InTeGrate Modules and Courses >Systems Thinking > 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.


Lisa Gilbert
Lisa Gilbert: Systems Thinking at Williams-Mystic. In the spring of 2016, the Systems Thinking Module was used in Oceanographic Processes, a small intermediate-level course at The Maritime Studies Program of Williams College and Mystic Seaport (Williams-Mystic). The course is part of an interdisciplinary maritime studies "study away" semester at Williams-Mystic, with mostly third-year undergraduates from a variety of colleges and universities. Students represented every possible major, from computer science to theater arts to environmental history. The class met two times a week for 75 minutes (plus 3.5-hour labs and extended field seminars). Students completed the module during portions of five of our class meetings spread throughout the semester.


Deborah Gross Picture
Deborah Gross: Systems Thinking at Carleton College In Fall 2015, the Systems Thinking Module provided a backbone for ENTS 287, Climate Science at Carleton College. This course is intermediate-level, requiring students to have taken one science or math course prior to enrolling, and is taken by students from a range of majors, including natural sciences, environmental studies, and others. The class met three times a week, with two 70-minute meetings and one 60-minute meeting. There was no associated lab with this course. Students completed the Systems Thinking module, including all optional components, during six class meetings spread throughout the term (the first two right at the beginning, Units 3–5 just after mid-term, and Unit 6 as a culminating activity on the last day of the course).


Kreutz photo
Karl Kreutz: Systems Thinking at the University of Maine The Systems Thinking Module was used in ERS201: Global Environmental Change during the Spring 2016 semester. This small intermediate-level course is part of a two-semester sequence designed for new Earth and Climate Science majors, and usually has a diverse enrollment including a range of natural and social science majors. The class met two times a week for 75 minutes, plus in a 3-hour lab once a week. Students completed the Systems Thinking module during six class meetings spread across the semester.

Additional Instructor Stories

Molly Redmond: Using InTeGrate Materials in Biology 3144 (Ecology) at UNC Charlotte
Molly Redmond, University of North Carolina at Charlotte
Teaching the Carbon Cycle, Climate Change, and Feedback Loops in Introductory Ecology I used material from the Carbon, Climate and Energy Resources Module and the Changing Biosphere Module, along with some inspiration from the Systems Thinking Module, in my intro Ecology class. This a required core class for Biology majors at UNCC and consists largely of juniors and seniors, but most students have little to no background in environmental science or ecology. I taught two sections of this class, each section had 76 students and met twice a week for 75 minutes. I did the activities in both sections. Our classroom was designed for active learning, with 76 desks on wheels. These desks can face forward during the lecture portion of the class or be moved into groups for activities. This flexible arrangement works very well for my class, which is mix of traditional lecture, frequent clicker questions, and longer group activities. The room has five projectors, so students can see slides on all walls of the room. The one downside is that the room is so full of desks, it's challenging for me to move around the classroom and nearly impossible for the students to move around out of their desks. I modified the InTeGrate materials to suit the physical structure of the classroom and my relatively large (but not huge) classes.

Also Related to Systems Thinking

Pathways to performance expectations using InTeGrate materials
Nov 15 2018 Thursday, November 15, 2018 11:00 am PT | 12:00 pm MT | 1:00 pm CT | 2:00 pm ET Presenters: Anne Egger (Central Washington University), Kathryn Baldwin (Eastern Washington University), and Lisa Gilbert (Williams ...

InTeGrate 101: How to incorporate InTeGrate classroom materials into your courses
Dec 8 2017 In this free, one-hour webinar participants will be introduced to the large collection of InTeGrate teaching materials and provided with strategies to incorporate activities into their own college classrooms. These data-rich activities provide up front learning outcomes, embedded assessment tools, and instructor stories from a variety of institution types. Following a brief overview of how the InTeGrate materials were designed, we will navigate through the online collection and examine several specific activities that use active learning strategies such as jigsaws, role-playing, and gallery walks. Several module authors will also join us and give brief overviews of highlights of their modules.

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.

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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 »