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GSTR332.101 Syllabus

GSTR332.101 Syllabus - GSTR332E Scientific Knowledge...

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1 GSTR332E: Scientific Knowledge & Inquiry "Life, the Universe, and Everything" Fall 2010 Dr. Michael Berheide Class Meetings: TR, 10:00-11:50, Science 17 "This department [Natural Science] is one not only of thrilling and healthful interest but profoundly affects the material and moral prosperity of our [human] race. It is God's marvelous textbook but partially opened to us in these latter days: And it behooves our Christian institutions not to allow their attachment to the hereditary claims of linguistic and mathematical study so to absorb them that they too largely give over the study of physical science to materialistic atheists." --- Charles G. Fairchild (President Fairchild's brother), June, 1878 CATALOG DESCRIPTION GSTR332 SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE & INQUIRY Prerequisites: Practical Reasoning with Quantitative Emphasis (PRQ) and sophomore standing Offered: Typically Fall and Spring terms This course invites students to explore a variety of scientific disciplines in order to understand what science is, does, and tells us about the natural world around us. Employing an integrative approach to the natural sciences, the course emphasizes the historical development of laws, models, and theories, as well as basic scientific literacy important to contemporary concerns. Each section of the course includes inquiry-based learning (lab) experiences. Section Description: Things You Should Know -- and How We Know Them. Do you feel left out of the conversation when your fishing buddies are talking about adenosine triphosphate? Have you recently misspelled “megaparsec” on a job application? Are you embarrassed at cocktail parties when everyone else is talking about H. ergaster and you can think of nothing witty to say? Then this is the course for you! We are going to spend the entire semester learning basic facts about the natural world that any educated college graduate should know, and, more importantly, the fascinating ways in which these things have come to be learned. Never be intimidated again! REQUIREMENTS Readings Awhile back, I tried using Bill Bryson's wonderful A Short History of Nearly Everything , instead of a textbook. Students very much enjoyed that book, but universally complained that they also wanted a text. Therefore, you have them to blame for the fact that I now assign, in addition to the Bryson work, Trefil & Hazen's The Sciences: An Integrated Approach , 6e, which is available at the bookstore. Fortunately, it's one of those rarest of things: a good textbook. I like it, and I think you will, too.
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2 One problem that we face, however, is that the order of presentation of material in the two books is quite different. Try as I might, I cannot seem to get them to connect in any sensible way. Therefore, I have decided simply to read Bryson first—just like a real book!—and then turn to the textbook. Actually, we'll read a good chunk of it, move to the
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GSTR332.101 Syllabus - GSTR332E Scientific Knowledge...

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