Rogers, Pfaff, Hamilton, and Erkan publish "Incorporating Sustainability and 21st-Century Problem Solving into Physics Courses" in The Physics Teacher.


Contributed by Jill Ackerman

As educators we are facing an unprecedented challenge to prepare
our students not only for traditional careers but also for future
careers that don't exist today.

Many of these careers will require a firm grounding in disciplines 
such as physics, along with multidisciplinary, Global, and systems 
thinking skill sets. Our Multidisciplinary Sustainability Education 
(MSE) project is addressing this challenge by creating 
sustainability-themed modules where a variety of courses in a range 
of disciplines tackle relevant, real-world problems from each 
discipline's perspective. Each course involved in a module, which 
addresses an overarching question, has students write technical 
reports, using their discipline knowledge to address the question, 
and they are expected to read and synthesize reports from other 
discipline-based courses. This paper discusses one of our modules, 
“What Are the Current and Future Impacts of Global Climate Change 
on Polar Bears?” and how students studying thermal physics can help 
answer this question.