Initial Publication Date: March 14, 2016

Using Data to Teach About Societally Important Questions

Next Webinar

Improving Climate Literacy Through your Undergraduate Course
Thursday, April 7
12:00 pm Pacific | 1:00 pm Mountain | 2:00 pm Central | 3:00 pm Eastern

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

10:00 am Pacific | 11:00 pm Mountain | 12:00 pm Central | 1:00 pm Eastern

Presenters: Becca Walker (Mt. San Antonio College), Beth Pratt-Sitaula (UNAVCO), Kirsten Menking (Vassar College)

This webinar is part of a series supporting teaching with InTeGrate principles, using InTeGrate-developed and curated materials as tools.


This webinar will provide an opportunity to hear from geoscience faculty who connect the use of data and earth modeling to learning about the Earth in their courses (more information on teaching sustainability). Becca Walker and Beth Pratt-Sitaula are the author and editor (respectively) of Ice Mass and Sea Level Changes, a UNAVCO-developed, geodesy-focused GETSI module that uses authentic geodetic data to introduce students to the scientific and societal aspects of sea level change. Kirsten Menking is the author of the InTeGrate module: Earth Modeling (coming live in the Fall) that develops students' qualitative and quantitative tools for constructing, experimenting with, and interpreting dynamic models of different components of the Earth system. The webinar will include presentations on specific teaching strategies/tools and will provide opportunities for discussion. Participants are encouraged to both ask questions of the presenters and discuss their own experiences of using data to teach about societally important issues.


At the end of this webinar, participants will have

  • new strategies for using data and/or modeling to teach about the Earth and important societal issues
  • an understanding of the values and challenges of teaching with real datasets and models
  • an appreciation of the value of having a societal component in a scientific course
  • greater familiarity with InTeGrate teaching principles and resources
  • new colleagues engaged in this work


Time - 10:00 am Pacific | 11:00 pm Mountain | 12:00 pm Central | 1:00 pm Eastern
- 1 hour
Format - Online web presentation via Adobe Connect web conference software with questions and discussion. To join the webinar, please visit: and follow the prompts.

Registration - Registration is closed.
Preparation - There is no advance preparation required for this webinar.

Please email Alice Newman (anewman AT if you have any questions about this event.


Becca Walker, Earth Sciences and Astronomy, Mt. San Antonio College.

Beth Pratt-Sitaula, Education and Community Engagement, UNAVCO.

Kirsten Menking, Earth Science and Geography, Vassar College.

To download the slides for this presentation, click here: Teaching with Data Slideshow (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 15.9MB Mar22 16)


1) Welcome and introductory remarks- John McDaris, SERC

  • Overview of InTeGrate and GETSI and the value of having a societal component in a scientific course - Beth Pratt-Sitaula

2) Using data to teach about climate systems - Becca Walker

  • Ice Mass and Sea Level Changes module
    • Unit 5: Warm With a Chance of Melting
  • Considerations when using real data in your teaching
    • Climate of Change module Unit 2.1: Climate Variability in the Equatorial Pacific
    • Ice Mass and Sea Level Changes module
      • Unit 1: Rising Concerns Over Rising Sea Levels
      • Unit 5: Regional Sea Level Changes - A Tale of Two Citites

Q & A

3) Why modeling is an important tool for teaching with data - Kirsten Menking

  • Preview of the Earth Modeling module
  • Participant reflections: Why teach modeling? What barriers have you encountered?
  • Two examples from Earth Modeling:
    • Population modeling
    • Earth's energy balance and resulting temperature
  • Resources and activities currently available

6) Reflection by Participants

Given the ideas and examples that have been presented, and your own teaching goals and experiences: how would you move forward in using data and modeling to teach about climate systems and other societally important questions? After reflecting for a moment, please use the chat to share something about where you are in your teaching, how you would move forward, and why this is a strong move. You can also enter questions for discussion into the chat at this time.

7) Synthetic Remarks

The conveners will reflect on the chat and each provide a synthetic remark.

8) Opportunities for Further Interaction - John McDaris

9) Webinar Evaluation

Click to watch the Webinar Screencast (MP4 Video 644.1MB Mar23 16)

Resources from the Webinar