CLC/PLHS College in the Schools

Introduction to Environmental Science

Course Syllabus and Website

Use this page as your point of access for lecture notes, assigned reading, assignments, quizzes and tests.  This website will be updated throughout the semester.

Contact Information
Instructor: Daren D. Blanck, M.S.
Telephone: 568-9210

Course Information
Credit hours: 3 Credits - Central Lakes College / 1 Credit - PLHS
Meets: Period 3, Semester I, 2009
Room: 215

Primary Text

Bloom, David E., et al.  The Habitable Planet: A Systems Approach to Environmental Science.  Washington, DC: Annenberg Media and Harvard University Center for the Environment, 2007.  <>

Course Content

Week 1-2 (9/1-9/11): Many Planets, One Earth

     Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 1 Sections 1-6
     Inquiry Project Assignment:pdf
     Project Idea Book:pdf
     Other Ideas: Website
     Chapter 1 Notes:pdf

Week 3-5 (9/14-10/2):
Water Resources
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 8 Sections 1-10
     Field Work: Sibley Lake
     Guest Speaker: Waste Water Treatment

      Water Quality Notes:pdf
     Lake Succession Notes:pdf
     Lakeshore Development Assignment:jpg
     Link to City of Pequot Lakes Ordinances Website
     Exotic Species Notes:pdf
     Water Resources Overview Notes:pdf

Week 6-8 (10/5-10/23): Ecosystems
     Assigned Reading:
Habitable Planet Unit 4 Sections 1-10

Week 9 (10/26-10/30): Biodiversity and Population
     Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 9 Sections 2-10
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 5 Sections 1-6

Guest Speaker: Nature Conservancy
Environmental Ethics Readings:

          John Muir: "The Hetch Hetchy Valley"
          John Muir: "Save the Redwoods"

          Aldo Leopold, "Conservation Esthetic"
          Aldo Leopold, "The Land Ethic"
          Lynn White, Jr., "The Historical Roots of Our Ecological Crisis"
          Garrett Hardin, "The Tragedy of the Commons"
          Barry Commoner, "The Closing Circle: Nature, Man and Technology"

Week 10-12 (11/2-11/20): Atmospheric Pollution
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 11 Sections 1-12
     Lab: Atmospheric Pollution
     Guest Speaker: MPCA

Week 13-14 (11/23-12/4): Energy Challenges
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 10 Sections 1-15
     Guest Speaker: Silent Power
     Lab: Energy Alternatives

Week 16 (12/14-12/23): Agriculture
     Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 7 Section 1-10
     Lab: The affect of chemicals on plant growth

     Guest Speaker: Organic Gardening

     Inquiry Projects Due 1/11 (Presentations through week 18)

Week 17 (1/4-1/15): Earth's Changing Climate
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 12 Sections 1-9
     Guest Speakers: recycling and Solid Waste and Biofuels

Week 18 (1/18-1/22): Looking Forward
Assigned Reading: Habitable Planet Unit 13 Sections 1-4
     Additional Reading:
          Lester R. Brown, "Plan B: Rescuing a Planet under Stress"

Classroom procedures

This course will utilize an online multimedia text developed for undergraduate college students and teachers.  It will be beneficial for students in this course to have access to web connected computer at home.  Students will have at least one class period each week in a PLHS computer lab.  During this time they may access their text to read and view multimedia components.  Students without internet access at home may use this time to print assigned reading.

Notes and Discussions:
As this class focuses on the interconnectedness of everything, including our interconnectedness to each other, it will be necessary to participate in a positive way in class discussions.  As there will be technical information presented throughout the semester, it will also be necessary to employ good notetaking skills.  A notebook, folder, calculator and pencil are required for this class. (See the above note regarding the desirability of a computer with internet connection for this class as well.)
Quizzes and Tests:
1 Final test @ 200 pts. and 8 quizzes @ 25 pts. ea.
Be ready for “pop” or surprise quizzes.  Take notes in an orderly, sequential fashion.  Your notes will be your main source of information from which to study. Notes may be used on some quizzes. Quizzes may include multiple choice or essay questions.  The final test is a comprehensive exam.  Whenever practicable tests and quizzes will be administered electronically.

Labs and Field Work:
Aprox. 200 pts.
Lab exercises in this class are designed to increase your understanding of the topic of study.  While working in the lab, safety is your highest priority.  You will need to obey the following rules in order to work in the lab.

2) Only authorized experiments may be performed.
3) You may handle only those chemicals or equipment for which you have received instruction.
4) You must handle chemicals or equipment consistent with the instruction you have received.
5) You must dispose of all chemicals, disposable equipment, and biological waste only as instructed.
6) You may not taste, smell, or mix unknown chemicals unless instructed to do so.
7) Know where emergency equipment is in the lab, how to use it, and only use it in an emergency.
8) Safety goggles are required in many laboratory situations.  Wear them when instructed.   
9) Report all broken glass, damaged equipment, or spilled chemicals before you attempt clean up or repair.
10) Report all injuries to yourself or others immediately.

Field work will require similar safety consideration.

Inquiry Project:
250 pts
The inquiry project is designed to involve students in the process of doing real environmental science.  It is outlined in detail HERE

Guest Speaker Participation:
200 pts. total
You are expected to be prepared to ask at least two well thought out question of each of the guest speakers.  These questions should be submitted to me by e-mail prior to the guest speaker's appearance.  I will consider who actually asked questions in assigning points. (10 pts. per speaker)
Following each guest speaker you will be asked to write a three paragraph summary and reaction paper.  These papers should be submitted by e-mail within 5 class days of the speakers appearance. (15 pts. per speaker)

Assignment Submission/Paperlessness Policy
Whenever possible students are encouraged to email their assignments to  I will respond by email or on Skyward within 5 school days.
(Note: Please do not send attachments - essays or reports submitted by email should be pasted into the body of your email.)  If you are unable to email your assignment or you are required to submit a paper assignment (as with, for example, the Inquiry Project Journal), please put your assignments in the Assignment Basket.

If you have been absent it is your responsibility to get notes from a classmate, any make up work from me, or to arrange a time to to make up a test or lab.  You may make up a test according to the standard PLHS make-up policy.

Grading Scale
    A -   90 - 100+%   
    B -   80 - 89.99%   
    C -   70 - 79.99%   
    D -   60 - 69.99%

Attendance, Tardiness, and Behavior
These issues will be strictly dealt with according to applicable PLHS policies.

Academic Dishonesty
Neither plagerism nor cheating will be tolerated in this class.  If you are found to have plagerized an assignment or cheated on an exam, you will not receive credit for the assignment or exam.  If a repeat offense occurs you will not be recommended for college credit and may be removed from class.

Need for Assistance
Special needs students are to self advocate by informing the instructor of their disability, necessary accomodations, and case manager name.

Syllabus Changes
This syllabus may be subject to change as the course progresses.  Any changes will be announced.

Applicable Minnesota High School Graduation Standards
Upon successful completion of this course students will have partially or fully met the requirements of the following Minnesota Academic Standards / Benchmarks in Science: Formulate a testable hypothesis, design and conduct an experiment to test the hypothesis, analyze the data, consider alternative explanations and draw conclusions supported by evidence from the investigation. Describe a system, including specifications of boundaries and subsystems, relationships to other systems, and identification of inputs and expected outputs. Identify properties of a system that are different from those of its parts but appear because of the interaction of those parts. Describe how positive and/or negative feedback occur in systems. Describe how values and constraints affect science and engineering. / Communicate, justify and defend the procedures and results of a scientific inquiry or engineering design project using verbal, graphic, quantitative, virtual or written means. Relate the reliability of data to consistency of results, identify sources of error, and suggest ways to improve data collection and analysis. Compare local and global environmental and economic advantages and disadvantages of generating electricity using various sources or energy. Describe the trade-offs involved when technological developments impact the way we use energy, natural resources, or synthetic materials. Describe factors that affect the carrying capacity of an ecosystem and relate these to population growth. Explain how ecosystems can change as a result of the introduction of one or more new species. Describe the social, economic and ecological risks and benefits of biotechnology in agriculture and medicine. Describe the social, economic and ecological risks and benefits of changing a natural ecosystem as a result
of human activity. Describe contributions from diverse cultures, including Minnesota American Indian tribes and communities, to the understanding of interactions among humans and living systems.  

Env Sci Experiments.pdf Env Sci Experiments.pdf
Size : 13.672 Kb
Type : pdf
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