Chris Sinton: Using Water, Agriculture, and Sustainability in Earth System Science at Ithaca College
About this CourseThis is a 200-level requirement for the B.S. in Environmental Science.
Syllabus for ENVS 230 Earth System Science (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 32kB Aug30 16)
A Success Story in Building Student Engagement
This module was used in Earth System Science to demonstrate the relationship between water resources and human activities, particularly agriculture. Agriculture was the perfect example for this course because we cover the science of water, including precipitation patterns, as well as soils.
My Experience Teaching with InTeGrateMaterialsThis module complemented the topics presented in Earth System Science because they placed the physical concepts into the context of one of the main human activities that affects the natural environment - agriculture. It also incorporates economic data which enhances the interdisciplinary nature of the issues. One of my goals in the class is to challenge my students with the experience of culling information from a large dataset and then use the information to answer questions.
Relationship of InTeGrate Materials to my Course
The materials in this module enabled my students to take some of the concept of earth systems, such as hydrologic cycles and precipitation patterns, and place them in a context of human resource use. My class had a 50-minute lecture time with a weekly three-hour lab.
I usually have students complete a "Think-Pair-Share" question after some of the module materials in order to get an informal assessment of progress. Formal (graded) summative assessments were done for Units 3 and 4 as labs and an assessment for Unit 5 was embedded in a mid-term exam.
Without a doubt, these activities helped me achieve my goals for this class. One particular goal the module helped me achieve is that my students were able to analyze quantitative data; and these units make use of real data (which can be messy at times).