Environment Earth (3) Natural processes and their relationship to anthropogenic influences. General principles of global cycles and the role they play in natural hazards, global warming, ozone depletion, etc.
EARTH 100 Environmental Earth Science (3)
(BA) This course meets the Bachelor of Arts degree requirements.
"Environment Earth" is designed to generate a student's interest in natural processes and the effects humans have on these processes. In addition, students are encouraged to think critically about environmental problems and discover the complexity of these issues. An emphasis on the discrepancies between political rhetoric, media reporting and scientific data provides students the opportunity to evaluate conflicting arguments for themselves.
The goals of this course are (1) to develop students' understanding about our Earth and human effects on natural resources, (2) to foster the ability to critically evaluate scientific arguments, and (3) to practice expressing reasoned opinions on complex problems. To achieve these goals, grades are based on examinations, homework assignments, written reports and oral presentations.
Exams use a traditional multiple choice format and are based on the lecture and readings. However, questions are designed to test a student's knowledge of the principles and interrelationships discussed rather on memorization of facts and terms. Homework assignments are given on approximately a weekly basis. Questions cover the most important concepts of the text and lecture and encourage consistent reading to complement lectures. These exercises have two purposes. First, the short answer nature of questions provides practice in writing logical, concise paragraphs while ensuring the student understands key concepts. Second, assurance that students are reading chapters concurrent with the lecture topics allows the instructor to interact with the class more effectively during class discussions. Two written reports are given to test a student's ability to comprehend scientific articles and explain the science and its implications for environmental policy. A wide variety of topics are suggested based mainly on newspaper and magazine articles on environmental issues, but students can select almost any topic related to the environment with prior instructor approval. Students must then research the science behind the media coverage via library and web-based resources. The class web site (http://www.geosc.psu.edu/People/Faculty/FacultyPages/Kubicki/earlOO.html) is designed to facilitate searches related to course topics. Papers are judged based on the clarity of writing, the quality of scientific data included, and discussion of the implications of the research. Oral presentations debating two sides of environmental issues will be conducted. Small teams (4-5 students) will be assigned one side of an issue and each member will participate in a debate against another team. These debates will develop students' speaking and team-building, skills. Although each student will be responsible for a section of the debate, factual research will be carried out as a group to present the best overall case.
Note : Class size, frequency of offering, and evaluation methods will vary by location and instructor. For these details check the specific course syllabus.