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PHY-132-20, Environmental Science (FA15)

INSTRUCTOR: Cynthia Hamel, C/H: 410-599-2838, Email eaya09@verizon.net

SCHEDULE/DAY/TIME: Semester/Saturday/12:00 – 2:45 PM, 09/05/2015-12/12/2015


Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it embraces a wide variety of topics from different areas of study. Yet there are several major unifying constructs, or themes, that cut across the many topics included in the study of environmental science. 


NO TEXT.  Instructor will provide reading materials as necessary. Newspapers, magazine articles, books, web resources, and journal articles will be used as sources.


The goal of this course is to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, to identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, to evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and to examine alternative solutions for resolving and/or preventing them. 


We will address a few key themes of environmental science during this course through lecture, hands-on activities (in and out of the classroom), and student based research.


-Attendance: Class discussion is a vital link to understanding cultural and social context of environmental science. Science is a constantly changing the way we understand the world. Weekly lectures maybe adapted to address global events.

-Lecture: Earth itself is one interconnected system and in turn this course will combine both lectures and laboratory exercises as a method of learning. There will be at least one hands-on activities per class period in which students will be required to write-up as weekly reports.

-Student Based Research: Human survival depends on developing practices that will achieve sustainable systems. In order for students to become more aware of the environmental issues that surround them they will select a topic of their choosing, research it using the scientific method, and present their findings to the class.  Presentations may be conducted through PowerPoint’s, View Graph Transparencies (VGTs), or other method per approval of the instructor prior to presentation.

-Final Exam:  There will be one exam….the final and it will address material from throughout the semester.


Student evaluation and assessment will be conducted through the use of attendance, weekly reports, final reports, and presentations. A total point value will be used.  Methods of evaluation and their point values are as follows:

Attendance - 100 pts (10 pts for each week)

Weekly Reports - 100 pts (10 pts for each week)

Presentations - 100 pts

Final Exam - 100 pts

Total Points Possible - 400 pts

At anytime you can determine your grade. Simply add the number of points you have received and divide them by the total points possible to date. Multiply this number by 100 and this percentage will be converted to the letter grade percentage below:

A =   96-100%; A- = 92-95%; B+ = 86-91%; B = 81-85%; C+ = 76-80%; C = 71-75%; D = 66-70%; F = 0-65%


9/5/15 - Introduction; Scientific Method; 9/12/15 - Ecosystems; 9/26/15 - Student Research; 10/3/15 - Ecological Concepts; 10/17/15 - Sustainability; 10/24/15 - Biodiversity; 11/7/15 - Instruments/Tools Used in Research Studies; 11/14/15 - Toxicology, Pollution & Hazardous Waste; 11/21/15 - Environmental Politics & Decision Making; 12/5/15 - Student Research Presentations; 12/12/15 - Final Exam