Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Course Descriptions > Environmental Science 110 Laboratory

Environmental Science 110 Laboratory

Omowumi Alabi
, University of Missouri-Kansas City


Laboratory and field demonstration and exercises in environmental science. Weekly exercises or field trips.

Course URL: http://cas.umkc.edu/geo/env-sci/start/contents.htm
Course Type:
Entry Level:Environmental Geology Entry Level

Course Size:
150 students in the course as a whole, 15 students in each lab section

Course Format:
Students enroll in separate lecture and lab components. The lecture is taught by the professor and the lab is taught by TAs.

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This is an introductory laboratory course with no pre-requisites, and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. Typically, over 150 students enroll for this course each semester with 80% of the students taking the course to satisfy a general education requirement. This lab should preferably be taken in the same semester as the Environmental Science 110 Lecture, but students can take it alone. Each lab section contains 15 students.

In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses? no

If students take a "non-majors" course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course? yes

Course Content:

The Environmental Science 110 laboratory focuses on environmental issues such as climate variation, atmospheric pollution and non-point-source water pollution. The course is made up of 10 laboratory exercises, with two field labs. In this course students learn to investigate the natural world through the process of the "scientific method." Lab exercises provide an opportunity to make scientific observations, ask questions, develop explanations, design experiments and gather data. The lab exercises are designed to provide a basic understanding of how scientists investigate the world and the terminology that is used. Students have the opportunity to put the lab experience into real world scientific investigation. Ozone Pollution is an example of a laboratory activity that can be used in this course. The course culminates in a field research project related to water quality issues.

Course Goals:

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  • Apply basic scientific principles to address environmental science issues
  • Gather and analyze information relevant to environmental science problems and communicate analysis to others
  • Develop professional writing skills
  • Be able to think critically
  • Develop map-making abilities
  • Become proficient at graphing
  • Express concepts in their own words
  • Adopt a positive attitude toward science
  • Develop awareness of how personal choices affect other people, other species, and planet earth in general
  • Develop a sense of stewardship of the earth
  • Work cooperatively in groups

Course Features:

In this course, students are exposed to local issues as a means of learning basic principles. For example, the course has a four-week water analysis project, where students work in groups to apply the water quality analysis techniques they learned to research a body of water. To do this, students collect water samples from a location of choice (stream, lake, backyard pond, etc) and perform water quality tests. The final assignment is to present the water quality data in a mini-journal research paper.

Course Philosophy:

This particular design, which is experiential, increases students' excitement about the course. It enables them to be more involved in the process of doing science. In addition, it promotes interactive teaching and learning.


  • Laboratory activities
  • Mock quizzes, regularly administered to gauge students' understanding of basic scientific concepts. The results of these mock quizzes do not count towards students' final grade. They are solely to ensure no child is left behind.
  • Two major quizzes
  • Mini-journal research papers


Syllabus (Microsoft Word 65kB May14 08)

References and Notes:

Lab assignments are written in-house. The lab manual for this course is in the process of being developed.