Course Content and Outcome Guide for ESR 172

Course Number:
ESR 172
Course Title:
Environmental Science: Chemical Perspectives
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Special Fee:

Course Description

Develops an understanding of environmental topics that are primarily chemical in nature. Includes air pollution, global warming, toxicology, risk assessment, water pollution, and hazardous waste. The associated laboratories will illustrate these topics. Prerequisites: WR 115, RD 115 and MTH 20 or equivalent placement test scores. Audit available.

Addendum to Course Description

To clarify the teaching of evolution and its place in the classroom, the Portland Community College Science Departments stand by the following statements about what is science and how the theory of evolution is the major organizing theory in the discipline of the biological sciences.

• Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. In science, a theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.

• The theory of evolution meets the criteria of a scientific theory. In contrast, creation "science" is neither self-examining nor investigatory. Creation "science" is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

Science (ESR) instructors of Portland Community College will teach the theory of evolution not as absolute truth but as the most widely accepted scientific theory on the diversity of life. We, the Biology Subject Area Curriculum Committee at Portland Community College, therefore stand with such organizations as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula.

Intended Outcomes for the course

A student will be able to collaboratively and independently:

  • Express graphically, orally or in writing form, basic elements of chemistry in the environment.
  • Identify and express interactions of humans and the environment.
  • Utilize field and laboratory methods/technologies to measure and describe environmental factors.
  • Demonstrate an understanding environmental chemistry and human effects upon it.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

Assessment Tasks:
Written assessments:

  • Essay, short and multiple choice exams.
  • Write-ups of field and laboratory experiences.
  • Research paper on environmental topic
  • Journal: self-assessment and exploration of topics
  • Oral presentations with accompanying Visual/graphical representations
  • Concept Maps
  • Graphs
  • Maps

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

Concepts and Themes:

  • Energy flow and matter transformations
  • Human mediated environmental change (ozone depletion, global climate change, acid rain)
  • Fundamentals of periodic table
  • Chemical pollution of atmospheric, hydrologic, and biologic systems

Process Skills (Competency skills):

  • Relate scientific concepts to local and regional issues.
  • Understand the sources of scientific uncertainty.
  • Locate and access information from non-governmental organizations and governmental agencies.
  • Think critically.
  • Collaborate with peers -- Work effectively in groups.
  • Present conclusions with scientific rigor.