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Life Cycle Analysis and Assessment of Crop Production Methods

    Students use their ecological knowledge of soil processes, energy, water systems, and human interactions to compare the environmental impact of food production. Each group of 3-4 students develop life cycle analyses (LCA) for a single crop grown under different scenarios. As individuals, students are responsible for developing two LCA for that crop, and then together in their groups, they compile those LCA to assess which combination of growing method and location is most green if you are purchasing this product at the location of our college. In their joint assessments, students justify their answer based on findings from their LCA. Through this activity, students recognize that there is not one simple answer (e.g., always buy organic) but rather, which methods are most ecologically sustainable are often dependent on the crop, the local conditions, and the impacts of both humans and the environment.
    Format
    Primary or BEN resource type
    Secondary resource type
    General Biology Core Concepts
    Discipline Specific Core Concepts
    General Biology Competencies
    Life science discipline (subject)
    Keywords agriculture, life cycle analysis, sustainability, organic farming, soils, water, energy, nutrient cycling
    Audience
    Intended End User Role
    Language
    Educational Language
    Pedagogical Use Description this lesson can be a starting point for discussing a variety of ecological concepts, including nutrient cycling, water resources, and soil quality; can also be used in an applied context for discussing life cycles and human impacts. Could be taught in the context of a laboratory or more traditional class setting.
    Primary Author Controlled Name
    Primary Author Affiliation Carthage College
    Primary Author email tgartner@carthage.edu
    Rights Tracy B. Gartner
    License
    Date Of Record Submission 2018-08-14

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