Introduction to Environmental Science

James Dauray

College of Lake county
Two Year College


Introduction to environmental science course for non-science majors. Covers basic ecological concepts such as species interactions, types of ecosystems, effects of altitude, latitude, and so on. Also includes several units discussing human effects on these ecosystems, including resource depletion, pollution, and loss of biodiversity.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Environmental Geology, Environmental Science
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Special Interest: 2YC:Geo2YC, Geo2YC- OLD DO NOT USE
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14), Introductory Level
Course Type: Intro Level:Environmental Geology
Earth System Topics: Human Dimensions
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience, Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Environmental Science, Environmental Geology, Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Two-Year Colleges
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites. This does not serve as a prerequisite for any other courses. Nearly 100% of the students enrolled in this course are non-science majors looking to complete their science requirement. There is a lab and non-lab version of this course. The lab version includes required local field trips.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to:
  • Explain and apply different types of environmental ethics to presented scenarios.
  • Relate differences in altitude, latitude, and proximity to water to the physical characteristics of an ecosystem.
  • Relate the climate and landforms of an ecosystem to the life found within.
  • Explain the evidence and anthropogenic causes of global climate change.
  • Describe the different types of air and water pollution and their effects on living systems.
  • Relate soil and erosion to the development of modern agriculture systems.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

The course is divided into units that address each of the goals separately. Students are presented with a Powerpoint lecture that provides an overview of the topic, in addition to writing assignments and documentaries that reinforce each concept.

Skills Goals

Student writing
Group discussion

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students will given multiple opportunities to reflect on topics from class, write these reflections, and share them with the rest of the class.

Attitudinal Goals

Improving students' awareness of global environmental issues.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students are presented with multiple examples of current events that highlight concepts in the course. Students will provide written and spoken responses to each event.


Students are assessed with weekly quizzes, 4 major exams, short writing assignments, and a long-term research project.


Introduction to Environmental Science Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 150kB Jan30 12)

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