2008-09 Catalog

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Program Description

Science, Creativity and Exploration

Last Updated: 12/29/2008

Fall, Winter and Spring quarters

Faculty: Dharshi Bopegedera chemistry, Don Middendorf (FW) physics, Clarissa Dirks biology

Faculty Signature Required: Winter quarter

Major areas of study include chemistry, biology, geology, science laboratory, history and philosophy of science, ethics and values of science, scientific illustrations and library research methods, and writing.

Class Standing: This all-level program accepts up to 50% freshmen as well as supporting and encouraging those ready for advanced work.

Accepts Winter Enrollment: New students with appropriate background are welcome winter quarter, but must get a faculty signature. Please see faculty at the Academic Fair for additional information. During the holiday break, interested prospective students can stop by the program secretary office in Lab I and see Pam Udovich for program materials to self assess readiness to join the program. If you determine that you are ready, Pam will give you a signature override.

Scientists are creative explorers. Curiosity has led us to sequence the human genome, travel to the moon, and split atoms. Technology has transformed our lives and provided mechanisms for better understanding the natural world. How do scientists learn what they know, and what signifies that they have answered a question? In this program we will study the nature of scientific creativity and how models emerge from inquiry. Both science and non-science students will investigate a broad range of exciting topics, giving special emphasis to the creative and exploratory nature of science.

In lectures, labs, nature walks, artistic activities and workshops we will examine some of the "big ideas" in chemistry, biology, geology and physics. We will investigate these big ideas in the context of history, philosophy and ethics in science. We will explore the relationship between science and personal and political interests. Techniques and data analysis skills used widely in a variety of scientific fields will be practiced in the laboratory. Students will learn how to record qualitative and quantitative data. Critical thinking, writing and active reading skills will be emphasized.

Our goal is for students to acquire the knowledge, ability and self confidence to conduct their own scientific investigations. Early in the program we will help students gain a foundation of skills, vocabulary and methods by following the paths taken by other scientists. Winter quarter will emphasize the interdisciplinary nature of science where exciting discoveries occur at the interface of disciplines, showing that the whole is bigger than the sum of the pieces. Presentation of student projects to the broader Olympia community at the end of spring quarter will be the culmination of the program.

This program is appropriate for students who want an introduction to science whether or not they are planning on continuing in science beyond this program.

Credits: 16 per quarter

Enrollment: 69 Fall, 69 Winter and 46 Spring

Books: www.tescbookstore.com

Special Expenses: $25 per quarter for art supplies.

Program is preparatory for careers and future studies in science, science education, bioethics, history and philosophy.

Planning Units: Programs for Freshmen, Scientific Inquiry

Program Revisions

Date Revision
November 24th, 2008 Winter quarter enrollment details added.
November 25th, 2008 Winter enrollment field utilized
December 15th, 2008 Winter enrollment cap (46) added.
December 29th, 2008 Winter enrollment cap removed.