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VOLUME 12: Table of Contents TEACHING ISSUES AND EXPERIMENTS IN ECOLOGY
PRACTICE

Understanding Causes of Reservoir Water Quality Deterioration Using Socio-environmental Synthesis Approach

ABSTRACT

In this seven week module, students explore the focal question: what are the major socio-environmental and biophysical factors causing deterioration of water quality in the Liberty Reservoir (primary source of drinking water for Baltimore). Students first generate a list of what they would need to know to answer the focal question and then produce pre-systems map in their assigned ‘expert’ groups (land use, climate change, policy/politics and social). Students from each ‘expert’ group mix to form ‘synthesis’ groups and then produce post-systems map and final report. This two-level Jigsaw method entails distilling and integrating data and ideas

AUTHORS

Mintesinot Jiru

Department of Natural Sciences, Coppin State University, 2500 W. North Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21216; MJiru@Coppin.edu


CLASS TIME

The module takes place over 7 weeks, using lab hours (3 hours per week) and part of the lecture for group work and in-class presentation

OUTSIDE OF CLASS TIME

Estimated at 10-15 hours, depending on level of engagement.

STUDENT PRODUCTS

Students generate:

  1. the What Do You Need To Know (WDYNTK) list for addressing the focal questions
  2. expert group pre-systems map
  3. narrative (expert group) report and oral presentation
  4. revised systems maps
  5. final synthesis report and final oral presentation

SETTING

In order to provide access to data and information, a computer lab is used for the implementation of this module.

COURSE CONTEXT

The module is designed for upper level science students majoring in one or more of the following areas (Biology, Chemistry or Geography).

INSTITUTION

Public, comprehensive university.

TRANSFERABILITY

The module was developed at Coppin University, an urban Historically Black College. The SES method used in the module can be used in any other science course as it involves distilling and integrating data, ideas, and theories in understanding of a real world issue. It is suitable for meeting the Student Learning Objectives in many science classes. Use of the module in places that are distant from the Liberty Reservoir could necessitate substitution of a similar drinking water source nearer (and therefore more locally relevant) to the site of implementation. See section 4 of the paper for more discussion about this and other challenges for implementation (e.g., time management).

DOWNLOADS

  • Full Article Text [doc], [pdf]

Description of other Resource Files:

  • Challenge question [docx]
  • How to Create Systems Map [docx]
  • Research Prompts [docx]
  • Rubric to Evaluate Systems Maps [doc]
  • Oral Presentation Evaluation Rubric [doc]
  • Written Report Evaluation Rubric [doc]
  • Pre-systems map survey [docx]
  • Post-systems map survey [docx]

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

This project was part of a multi-institutional study supported by the NSF Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center to assess the effectiveness of teaching socio-environmental synthesis (SES) using different pedagogical approaches in a variety of undergraduate institutional settings. I thank all of our colleagues from the participating institutions (Washington State University (Vancouver), University of Maryland College Park, Gallaudet University, Widener University) and Alan Berkowitz of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. This work benefited from support from the National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) - NSF award DBI-1052875

CITATION

Mintesinot Jiru. 2 March 2017, posting date. Understanding Causes of Reservoir Water Quality Deterioration Using Socio-environmental Synthesis Approach Teaching Issues and Experiments in Ecology, Vol. 12: Practice #1 [online]. http://tiee.esa.org/vol/v12/issues/jiru/abstract.html



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