INTEGRATE: TEACHING ABOUT MINERALS, PLATE BOUNDARIES, HAZARDS, SOILS, AND CLIMATE IN THE CONTEXT OF SOCIETAL ISSUES IN INTRODUCTORY COURSES AT A TWO-YEAR COLLEGE
Over the past four years students in introductory oceanography and physical geology courses at Pasadena City College have learned a number of introductory-level topics from a variety of InTeGrate modules. The modules use an assortment of active-learning, pedagogical techniques, such as gallery walks, role-playing games, jigsaw activities, minute-papers, class discussions, and small group activities. Examples of lessons include (1) selecting which schools to fund in a seismically hazardous region, (2) considering the global supply and demand relationship of REEs, (3) learning about the fertility of the soil where they live and calculating soil sustainability, (4) deciding which of two potential mining sites will have the least impact on a region’s economic, social, and environmental stability, (5) ranking local hazards associated with an eruption at Mt. Rainier in Washington, and (6) participating in a roll-playing game related to climate change.
These types of activities cultivate awareness among two-year college students when they realize the interconnectedness between their natural environment and society. Role-playing games in which students decide where to distribute limited resources are particularly powerful in helping them recognize that as individuals, members of a group, or in a leadership position, they are needed to be a part of important decision-making in their world.