Natural Science Inquiry

spring 2007

Instructor: Candace Gossen
Office hours: by appointment
63248 SCI 201/UNST286  NATURAL SCI INQUIRY 4 TR 10:00-11:50 SB2 469
Course Description: This is the University Studies Sophomore Inquiry course that serves as the gateway to the Science in
the Liberal Arts curriculum. The course aims to introduce students to the knowledge-making strategies of science. The
curriculum is taught using small group and class projects that engage students in various science inquiry activities.
Students gain experience in gathering and understanding scientific information, data management, interpretation and
presentation, making and defending knowledge claims, working collaboratively, writing technically, and communicating
scientific results.

Objective: To learn how nature works and how things in nature are interconnected. Be able to discuss current issues and environmental problems, connections and solutions through the use of the scientific study method. Each week there will be a topic of discussion relative to Earth Science and current issues that science can help to answer. The class will consist of lecture, group projects, lab exercises and assignments given weekly.

Reading Requirements:
There is no text for this class, but there are weekly notes and additional reading that is in the online calendar. it is up to each of you  to check this calendar daily for updates and information.

Recommended Reading : A reading packet is being assembled by the PSU bookstore, once we received printing rights it will be available. Instructor will give more information in class first week.

Both of these books are should reads:   Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell and Ishmael by Daniel Quinn

Weekly Assignments: Each week you will either conduct an experiment in class, or be given an assignment over the weekend or as scheduled. Each assignment is worth 20points for a grand total of 200 at end of term. These projects stem out of the class lectures therefor it is really important that you attend class regularly and check the webcalendar daily.


A one day tour of the Tillamook Biogas Facility will be scheduled TBA.  We will carpool to be more efficient. You are expected to attend the fieldtrip to receive the full 60pts credit which will comprise of the observation of the facility and the worksheet to be turned in the following Tuesday.

Team Project:
Instead of submitting a term paper that would require the use of lots of paper, or content useful to the individual, you are going to work on a team project that will be useful to all in the class. We will group into teams of 4, with each team picking a subject relevant to an environmental inquiry/problem in the Pacific Northwest.  A criteria and timeline will be given in class. As a term project this will total 200pts of your total of 500. see guidelines on webcalendar.

Point Structure
Class Attendance 40pts
Weekly assignments 236
End of Term Project 200pts (powerpoint/video group project in the Pacific NW)
Fieldtrip 50pts
Total 526pts


Excercises Points Possible
starburst (group project) 10
vocab 1 20
Inconvenient Truth questions 20
Earth Science Experiment (group) 10
Jar Test 10
Earth Day (extra credit) & ES Quiz 10 + 15
Flow Diagram 20
Transportation Field Study (group) 20
Redesign America (group) 20
Guns, Germs & Steel quiz 16
Biomass survey (group) 40
Patterns of Change + Biodiveristy exercise (group) 20
Ecohunt (group) 20
Island Ecology 10
Fieldtrip (Tillamook Digester) 50
Attendance 40
Final 200
Total 526 (25 ex cr not included)