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AP/IB/Honors Environmental Science Activity Browse

Search for activities specifically designed for introductory college level environmental science courses. Refine this search by either clicking on the terms in boxes to the right or typing a term into the search box below. Activities include a description, background information, and necessary student documents.


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Ecological Autobiography part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
The ecological autobiography is a multi-stage reflective and written exercise that draws on students' personal history and experiences as they consider the ecological context of some period of their lives. The goal is to individually and collectively explore how the landscapes and ecological communities we have inhabited influence us as individuals, set the context of our lives, and influence our expectations of landscape.

What is the West? part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
What is the West? is a written reflective exercise, with associated readings and discussion, designed to 1) build insight into how personal experiences shape our perception of landscapes, 2) enhance knowledge of the geography and ecology of the American West, and 3) illuminate the role of water (or lack of water) in the natural and cultural history of the American West.

Don't Just Do Something, Sit There: Suggestions for Observing in Nature part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
A workshop for enabling students to sit quietly and observantly in the natural world.

Quiet Noticing: Reflective Activities for Environmental Ethics part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
A series of reflective activities (quiet noticing:) that engage students personal dimensions of questions of values and ethical commitments, such as in environmental ethics courses. The activities and assignments might also be adaptable for other courses where a sustained reflective component is desired.

Using Debates to Engage Students in Sustainability Controversies and Conundrums part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
A primary feature of this "Water and Sustainability" course is a series of 10 debates on controversial sustainability topics. Each student in the course participates in one of the debates.

Reflective Writing in response to Invasive Species Removal part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This activities provided reflective writing prompts to be used in conjunction with a service learning project in a science course (Restoration Ecology).

How Did This Landscape Form? A Field-Based Exercise to Enhance Awareness of the Natural Environment part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
In this activity students will investigate a landform (such as a waterfall or lake) in the field and apply the scientific method to come up with a geologic hypothesis. The focus of the activity is on making observations of the natural environment and fostering a "sense of place."

Interviewing the Past: Developing a Sense of Place through Oral Histories part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Local changes in climate, flora, fauna, and the human population can be anecdotally explored through interviews with long time locals.

Assessing Local Sea Level Rise part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Students will read primary scientific literature, work collaboratively, think critically, and utilize GIS as a tool to visualize and quantify spatial and temporal changes in hydrological systems.

The Sustainability Triangle: How Do We Apply Science to Decision Making? part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This writing assignment uses the "Sustainable Development Triangle" as a framework to critically evaluate an environmental issue of the student's choice. This learning activity provides an opportunity for an introductory chemistry student to use the sustainability's "Triple Bottom Line" as a tool to use material learned in the classroom to look at how environmental science helps inform economic and social/cultural factors in the development of sustainable solutions to our environmental challenges.

Science and Sustainability: A Freshman Seminar Course part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
The backbone of the course is made of two books: Berger and Luckmann's The Social Construction of Reality and Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma. Students will discuss these readings in a seminar format, write papers, take exams, carry out a chemistry experiment using mass spectroscopy, and undertake a research project into current pedagogical approaches to science and sustainability.

Integrating Sustainability Concepts into First Quarter General Chemistry part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
The goal of this project is to insert sustainability concepts and issues into the general chemistry curriculum. Specifically, I focus on carbon as the example to be considered throughout the quarter.

Researching Ocean Acidification in General Chemistry part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This research-based student project used the problem of ocean acidification to cover the sustainability concept of fossil fuel combustion and the disciplinary concepts of kinetics, equilibrium, acid-base chemistry and solubility.

Bottled Versus Tap Water: What You Drink and Why part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
In the activity students learn about the properties of solutions, acidity and pH, electrolytes versus non-electrolytes, and solution concentration. Hopefully, this activity will also dispel common misconceptions about tap water and bottled beverages.

Critical Thinking on Sustainable Food Production and Consumer Habits part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Students are assigned to research, write, take a position and present it on the complex issue of sustainable food production and consumer habits.

Phased Assignments in a Quarter-Long Argumentation & Research Course with a Sustainability Focus part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This teaching-and-learning activity is a phased process for developing a credible sustainability component in an Argumentation and Research course. The major assignment is a creation of an 8-10 page research paper in MLA format. All readings in this course are from the anthology, Listening to Earth (Hallowell and Levy).

The Sustainability of Place: Making Scholarship Public part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Students are assigned to observe and research a local place of their choosing and to develop a unique analytical argument about the social and/or ecological sustainability of this space. The final project is a pamphlet directed to a public audience accompanied by a proposal for its production and distribution.

Toxic Hygiene: How Safe Is Your Bathroom? part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
Students learn about potential safety and health concerns of personal hygiene products. Students examine labels and advertisements of these projects and then engage in rhetorical and cultural analysis of these advertisements.

Investigating Local Food: Meet Your Washington Farmers part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This assignment sequence seeks to stimulate students' thinking and writing about food production in the western Washington bioregion through a series of activities combining readings, class discussion, fieldwork, and writing assignments. Collaborative work in and outside of class culminates in students' interviewing local farmers and vendors at farmers markets and writing a surprising informative essay.

Twenty Miles from Tomorrow: Examining the Past, Present and Future of the Lower Kuskokwim River Delta part of Curriculum for the Bioregion:Activities
This project involves pairing pre-service teachers with students in the rural Alaskan village of Eek in Southwestern, Alaska. By creating effective writing prompts, the pre-service teachers hope to better understand how climate change is affecting the people of this region.

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