Earth in Context: Resources for Integrating Earth Literacy with Societal Issues Across the Curriculum

Co-sponsored by AGU Education and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Tuesday, 13 December, 3:00 P.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Leaders: Anne Egger (Central Washington University)
Location: Marriott Marquis, Golden Gate C1

Registration Details

When you register for the AGU Fall Meeting, be sure to add on the registration for this workshop. The registration fee for this workshop is $25.

Workshop Description

How do we prepare students for a future—and a present—where they will confront climate change, water availability issues, resource depletion, and other sustainability concerns that will require a robust understanding of the intersection between the Earth and society? One key strategy is to incorporate these issues into teaching at all levels and for all students. InTeGrate has developed a set of community-built modules that directly address Earth-related grand challenges through the use of engaging, data-rich activities that incorporate interdisciplinary problem solving. These materials have been developed and tested by faculty at a variety of types of institutions and come with built-in assessments and resources for both instructors and students. Topics range from environmental justice and freshwater resources to climate change, soils and agriculture, coastal communities, mineral resources, sustainable land use, and natural hazards. In this workshop, we will explore the InTeGrate materials, discuss the underlying design rubric, and work with participants to adapt the materials to their institutional and geographic setting. This workshop is a partnership between AGU Education and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers.

Before you arrive

Please plan on bringing your laptop or tablet.

Meet your fellow workshop participants (Acrobat (PDF) 62kB Dec2 16).

Workshop Program

3:00-3:15: Icebreaker

  • Describe the teaching venue you want to work on today (course type, institution type)
  • Introduce yourselves and the relevant societal issues that pertain to Earth science for your community
  • Name a geoscience topic that you teach in that course that is related to that societal issue

3:15–3:45: Introduction to InTeGrate pedagogy and modules organization: Overview slides (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 11.7MB Dec9 16)

3:45–4:30: Explore the InTeGrate materials, select one unit or activity that you are interested in, and take a break as needed

4:30-5:00: Small groups:

  • Work in teams of 3-ish to talk about how to adapt a particular module to your course.
  • On large sticky notes around the room, address:
    • What strategies will you use to adapt these materials to your setting?
      • Good framing for informal ed, especially interactivity, can adjust to fit time limits.
      • Tag into priorities of advocacy in informal education.
      • Add quizzes to go with pre-reading; frequent low-stakes quizzing can promote attendance.
      • Add group quizzes to promote discussion.
      • Introducing systems thinking explicitly in interdisciplinary classes.
      • Wide range of materials helps adoption in different disciplines.
      • Important and complex topics; need reflection on tasks to understand complex nature of topics.
      • Make clear the different perspectives: e.f. "justice" is not an absolute word but relative.
      • Easy-ish to adapt for online because so much material is already native digital.
    • What do you see as the biggest challenge in adapting the materials?
      • In informal education, time is very limited and you must be compelling for them to feel they've gotten something out of it.
      • Intermittant attendance (of students)
      • Finding the time to integrate these materials into your curriculum, especially in an established.
      • Using real-world data in the classroom can be challenging if results are uninterpretable; need to pre-select data.
      • For survey data, getting IRB approval.
      • Attending to lots of different kinds of students within a single course.
      • Adoption in international settings - need photos and examples from other countries.
      • Issues can be very controversial - need to tread carefully.
        • start with everybody's priorities or viewpoints. What does everybody bring to the conversation? People involved in controversial issues often deeply underlying goals that are similar. Also a good way to get to know the audience/students, and engage in conversation rather than lecture.
        • Can start with a conflict and present different perspectives
        • Give students time to develop and support an opinion and not telling them how to act.
        • Improving critical thinking skills and helping students make arguments based on evidence. Especially media literacy.
      • Collaborative work online can be challenging.
      • Developing media literacy is critical.

5:00-5:20: Report out and discussion on how to address challenges

5:35-6:00 Individual work on InTeGrate Module in your course.