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  • Created 07 Jul 2021

Selected Modules

These are the selected modules for this Faculty Mentoring Network (FMN). Note that these modules are being offered as a preview for the EDDIE FMN. They have all been piloted at least once by their authors, but are still undergoing final review and revisions. During the Spring 2021 semester, participants will adapt and implement portions from one of the following into their classrooms. These modules cover a range of earth and environmental science topics, so please select the activities that will fit best into your course curriculum. All EDDIE modules are built with an A-B-C structure that makes them flexible and adaptable to a range of student levels and course structures. Below are overview descriptions of the available modules. Additional details for each module can be provided upon request.  

Quick List of Modules (short descriptions follow below):

  • Paleoclimate and Ocean biogeochemistry

  • Sustainability Metrics

  • Hypoxia in Coastal Marine Ecosystems

  • Phenology and Climate Change trends in Minnesota

  • Bomb Cyclones - They're Explosive 

  • Wind and Ocean Ecosystems

  • Plate Tectonics: GPS Data, Boundary Zones, and Earthquake Hazards

Paleoclimate and Ocean Biogeochemistry

This module guides students in an examination of how surface ocean productivity relates to global climate on glacial-interglacial timescales and how the availability of ocean nutrients can be correlated with changes in productivity. The overarching question the module helps students answer is: How does primary productivity influence global climate?

In Part A, students reflect on how nitrogen and phosphorous are distributed globally, and how patterns of primary productivity compare with those nutrient patterns.

In Part B, students use statistical analysis to examine the influence of dust-borne iron on carbon export in two ocean regions.

In Part C, students choose a data set to investigate the relationship between ocean carbon export and climate, formulate a hypothesis to test using that data set, and share their findings with peers who chose a different data set.

This module takes approximately 90 minutes to complete, and was designed for use as part of an undergraduate course on Earth's Climate System. The module might also be appropriate for use in courses that have a focus on oceanography, marine biogeochemistry, paleoclimatology or paleoceanography. Students should have experience plotting quantitative data sets - both time series and cross plots- (in any software environment), and students need to know how to perform a linear regression and interpret it. Module Activities A and B are designed to be completed individually; Activity C should be completed in collaborative team.

Module Details and Materials


Sustainability Metrics

In this module, students use an analytical framework with publicly available data to formulate questions, analyze data, and report metrics of sustainability.

In Part A, students learn to navigate the Gapminder tool, identify components of a graph, and interpret a graph under the IPAT analytical framework.

In Part B, students explore sustainability metrics by framing a sustainability question, building a graph, interpreting results, and communicating findings with peers.

In Part C, students formulate their own question about sustainability, download datasets from the Gapminder Tool website, compare and contrast sustainability metrics for a specific country over time, and reflect on strengths and limitations of datasets and IPAT framework for quantifying sustainability.

This module is intended for an upper-level undergraduate course in sustainability, environmental studies, systems thinking, natural resources consumption, or any interdisciplinary course that includes these concepts. Students are expected to be familiar with the three facets of sustainability and to have some experience with reading and interpreting graphs. This module was designed to be implemented in two 1.25-hour classroom sessions, but could be adapted to be completed in one 2.5 - 3 hour lab session.

Module Details and Materials 


Hypoxia in Coastal Marine Ecosystems

Engage introductory environmental science or biogeochemistry students in the exploration of dissolved oxygen concentration through time in the Chesapeake Bay using data from the Chesapeake Bay Program. Students will use a multi-variable 10-year data set from the Chesapeake Bay to investigate the change in dissolved oxygen concentration over time. To determine the possible cause(s) of hypoxic events, students will analyze additional variables and will need to relate and apply their understanding of natural and anthropogenic processes affecting the ecosystem and support their conclusions using evidence from their analyses.

Module Details and Materials


Phenology Trends and Climate Change in Minnesota

In this module, students will practice answering a specific question about how climate change has affected flowering date in American elm trees. After students learn to manipulate the elm data set, build graphs, and analyze the data with a regression, they can then practice on a species of their own interest. Students can then share their species' information with the class for a larger discussion about what types of species may be affected by climate change.

In Part A, students determine changes in flowering date for American elm in Ramsey Co, MN.

In Part B, students determine significance of changes in flowering date.

In Part C, students determine a phenophase ("event") pattern for a Minnesota organism of students' choice.

This module is designed for an introductory-level course and can be used in majors or non-majors courses. The exercise assumes no prior knowledge of spreadsheet manipulation, work with large data sets, nor extensive climate change knowledge. The module is designed for one class period of 65 min with an additional take home assignment. 

Module Details and Materials 


Bomb Cyclones- They're Explosive

Students in introductory oceanography, geology or environmental science classes will use their quantitative reasoning skills to manipulate and visualize Bomb Cyclone events in the northeastern United States. They will use data from the Oceans Observatory network to make inferences about storms and their impacts. At the end of this module students will be comfortable with manipulating data and creating graphs in Excel, understanding correlative relationships using R-squared values, determining how to classify a storm as a bomb cyclone, analyzing how to calculate the rate of change of barometric pressure over time using linear regression and the equation of a line, and comparing hurricanes to bomb cyclones.

Module Details and Materials


Wind and Ocean Ecosystems

This module introduces students to the concepts in physical oceanography of Ekman transport, eastern boundary currents, and upwelling, while learning how to find a location on a map using latitude and longitude, how to build and interpret a wind rose plot in Excel, and how to access and view relevant data from oceanographic satellites.

Module Details and Materials


Plate Tectonics: GPS Data, Boundary Zones, and Earthquake Hazards

Students work with high precision GPS data to explore how motion near a plate boundary is distributed over a larger region than the boundary line on the map. This allows them to investigate how earthquake hazard related to distributed plate motion. Both GPS (which everyone has in their phones) and earthquakes provide strong hooks for student interest. Quantitative skills include interpreting time series graphs, using vectors, and plotting results on a map. Primary emphasis is strike-slip regions with examples from Alaska, Dominican Republic, and California.

Module Details and Materials