GSA Annual Meeting in Denver, Colorado, USA - 2016

Paper No. 214-9
Presentation Time: 3:35 PM


MCCONNELL, David A.1, BIRNBAUM, Stuart J.2, CHAPMAN, LeeAnna Young3, CZAJKA, C. Doug4, IVERSON, Ellen5, MANDUCA, Cathryn A.5, NAGY-SHADMAN, Elizabeth A.6, PELCH, Michael A.1, SHERIFF, Kathryn5 and STEER, David N.7, (1)Marine, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, (2)Earth and Environmental Science, The Univ of Texas at San Antonio, 6900 North Loop 1604 West, San Antonio, TX 78249, (3)Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Campus Box 8208, Raleigh, NC 27695, (4)Marine, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, (5)Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College, 1 North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057, (6)School of Science and Mathematics - Geology Department, Pasadena City College, Pasadena, CA 91106, (7)Department of Geology and Environmental Science, The University of Akron, Akron, OH 44325-4101,

Citizens of our increasingly crowded world will be confronted with future “grand challenges” such as the sustainable use of diminishing resources, a warmer climate, changing land use patterns and increased risks from natural hazards. General education programs featuring introductory geoscience and environmental science courses can provide a venue to bring information about these issues before a wide and diverse audience of students.

The InTeGrate project ( has developed, tested, and disseminated a customizable suite of free geoscience educational resources that address the grand challenges. These materials, representing 66 individual class lessons, were specifically created for introductory courses by teams of instructors and have been rigorously reviewed against a detailed design rubric by content and pedagogy experts. The materials are distributed among eleven modules (e.g., Human’s Dependence of Earth’s Mineral Resources; Environmental Justice and Freshwater Resources; Oceans Sustainability) composed of six units each.

In addition to discussing content suitable for a range of introductory courses, all modules address one or more grand challenges, provide examples of interdisciplinary problem solving, have students practice geoscientific habits of mind and examine authentic geoscience data, and all incorporate activities that involve systems thinking. Individual lessons include learning objectives linked to specific active learning exercises and include related formative and summative assessments.

We discuss how some instructors teaching courses such as physical geology, earth science, or environmental geology have utilized whole modules while others have deconstructed these resources into their independent parts, using individual units (lessons) or specific activities that can be readily reconfigured to work with existing materials to suit the specific needs of a class. We will provide templates of potential lesson sequences that match with representative syllabi for common introductory geoscience and environmental science courses to guide the incorporation of these high-quality resources into existing courses.