Science and the Environment

Module summary

Module code: ENVI1040
Level: 4
Credits: 30
School: Engineering and Science
Department: Natural Resources Institute
Module Coordinator(s): Peter Burt

Specification

Aims

• To help students reflect on the unsustainable nature of present trends, by drawing on previous and current environmental change issues;
• to provide students with a basic science-centred knowledge of the environment;
• to provide students with a clear understanding of the physical and chemical concepts applied to environmental systems, and their use in environmental issues;
• to explore the relationship between population growth and resource depletion, pollution and waste;
• to enable students to understand the science behind human and non-human environmental impacts;
• to develop within students a critical understanding of general environmental theories and models, and how such theories can be used to predict the effects of human activities.


Learning outcomes

On completing this course successfully you will:

1 be able to recognise basic physical, chemical and ecological principles underpinning the study of the environment;
2 be aware of the inter-relationships between resource use and environmental, social, economic and political processes;
3 have a clear understanding of basic environmental theories and models, their constraints, and how they can be used to predict the effects of human activities;
4 have begun to develop critical reasoning skills and be able to apply them in a scientific manner to environmental issues;
5 be able to apply their knowledge to explain and interpret the environment around them (including in novel situations)


Indicative content

Science and the study of the environment; our evolving understanding of the environment and its relationship with organisms; Mendel, genetics and the genetic code; matter (atoms, molecules, chemical reactions), organic and inorganic molecules, energy and force, Newton's laws of thermodynamics; pollution; basic ecology, population ecology and demographics, community ecology and species relationships, ecosystems and environmental dynamics; Gaia and global ecology; consequences of environmental change (extinction events).

Teaching and learning activity

Lectures; student led discussions; field visits to illustrate elements of course material.

Assessment

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Exam
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 1, 2, 3
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % 20%
Pass Mark 40%
Outline Details: 1 hour phase test

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Essay.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 3,4,5.
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % 40%
Pass Mark 40%
Word Length: 1500 Words.

Methods of SUMMATIVE Assessment: Seminar.
Outcome(s) assessed by summative assessment: 3,4,5.
Grading Mode: Numeric
Weighting % 40%
Pass Mark 40%
Outline Details: 10 minute presentation. May be in groups or individually, depending on number of students in class.

Nature of FORMATIVE assessment supporting student learning:
In-class discussions, assisted practicals, and tutorials based on course material and presentational skills