ERIC Number: EJ1119781
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2016
Abstractor: As Provided
Engaging Undergraduates in Soil Sustainability Decision-Making through an InTeGrate Module
Fortner, Sarah K.; Scherer, Hannah H.; Murphy, Martha A.
Journal of Geoscience Education, v64 n4 p259-269 Nov 2016
Continued agricultural productivity hinges on understanding how to manage soil resources. A 2-week undergraduate introductory-level module: "A Growing Concern: Sustaining Soil Resources Through Local Decision Making" was collaboratively developed through the InTeGrate Project. InTeGrate modules and courses engage students in grand challenges of sustainability (e.g., agriculture, water, and climate) using active learning strategies. In "A Growing Concern", students examine physical and chemical distinctions between intensively managed agricultural landscapes (e.g., conventional tillage) and natural vegetative types. They analyze geospatial and soil profile data to identify how intensive land management threatens soil sustainability. After exploring land practice and climate impacts on soil, they create extension-style fact sheets that provide recommended practices to reduce soil erosion. To maximize accessibility, we piloted the module in three settings: (1) an interdisciplinary Ecological Agriculture course at a Land Grant Institution, (2) a Geology of the Critical Zone course at a 4-y college, and (3) an Introduction to Environmental Science course at a 2-y community college. Classroom observations using the reformed teaching observation protocol revealed that the instructors used reformed teaching practices. Students also commented favorably on the hands-on nature of the module within focus group sessions. All students passed the culminating fact sheet, which was aligned with the rubric used in module development. Students had some difficulty interpreting site-specific geologic data and applying systems thinking. Revisions to instructional materials emphasized local data and greater systems diagramming.
Descriptors: Undergraduate Students, Soil Science, Sustainability, Active Learning, Agriculture, Interdisciplinary Approach, Geology, Environmental Education, Community Colleges, Observation, Teaching Methods, Student Attitudes, Experiential Learning, Focus Groups, Instructional Materials, Problem Solving, Essays, Ecology
National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Carleton College W-SERC, One North College Street, Northfield, MN 55057. Tel: 540-568-6675; Fax: 540-568-8058; e-mail: email@example.com; Website: http://nagt-jge.org
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education
Sponsor: National Science Foundation (NSF)
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Ohio; Virginia
Grant or Contract Numbers: DUE1125331