Dr. Jorden Hayes, Earth Sciences

Sustainable Systems in Oceanography

Through the summer 2019 Valley and Ridge workshop, I worked to revise my course in Oceanography (ERSC 221) to more explicitly incorporate ideas and concepts in sustainability. The course is a mid-level elective that incorporates fundamental scientific concepts in earth science, physics, chemistry, and biology to help students better understand Earth’s ocean system. I wasn’t sure to what degree I would be modifying the course, but I settled on making many small changes to the course to connect sustainability as a unifying concept throughout the course. Overall, I expect these changes to be straightforward and will greatly improve the quality of the course. The many pedagogies and ideas presented during Valley and Ridge made it easy to make these small changes by generating and/or modifying existing activities.

Using what I learned from the workshop, I plan to introduce my students to sustainability concepts on the first day of class by discussing the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). In this activity groups will choose a SDG and then brainstorm connections to the ocean system. We will return to these SDG’s throughout the semester in activities such as a lab on predicting the ocean response to climate change. In this lab assignment, students will reflect on the ocean system and how various SDG’s maybe challenged by the ocean response to climate change. A major component of the course is a field trip to Cape Henlopen, Delaware where students will engage in experiential, project-based, place-based learning. Students will be conducting their own research projects over the weekend, but I will connect the ocean system to their lives in Carlisle by incorporating an activity that compares the effect of hurricanes on coastal and inland communities. In particular, we will compare the impact of Hurricane Agnes on Carlisle with the impact of Hurricane Sandy on the Delaware coastline. In another activity that connects sustainable practices with anthropogenic impacts on the oceans, students will collect aquaculture data from a field trip to the grocery store at the end of the semester. Students will also apply their knowledge of the ocean system to complete a jigsaw activity that analyzes the pros and cons of geoengineering solutions to address changes in the ocean system. Lastly, students will reflect on their new knowledge and experiences at the end of the semester with a gallery walk of questions related to the SDGs presented at the beginning of the semester.