Environmental Education     CI 4640/5640  

Dr. Charles J. Rop,   University of Toledo

Welcome to Environmental Education, a course designed for those interested in teaching about the environment


This Syllabus is divided into 6 parts. Follow these links

I.    Instructor Information

II.  Course Description

III. Course Goals and Objectives

IV. Course Requirements

V. Grading

VI. General Class Procedures

VII. Assumptions about Computer Technology

VIII. Other Course Materials

IX. Tentative Schedule

Scroll down to read syllabus

I. Instructor Information

Dr. Charles J. Rop

338 Snyder Memorial

College of Education

(419) 530-2887


Office Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 9:00-11:30AM

II. Course Description

Exploration of environmental science and related science education issues, methods and materials.

This is an science course designed for elementary, middle-school and high school teachers to review and update their environmental science background and related pedagogic content knowledge. Although this is not a methods class, students will have the opportunity to prepare and field test instructional activities for classroom use. This course will include several trips to the fields, woods and streams of Northwestern Ohio. We will visit several sites including the UT Arboretum, the Lake Erie Center, and various metroparks.

III. Course Goals and Objectives: (Students will...)

Demonstrate familiarity with and skill in the use of Science: Ohio's Model Competency-based Program in planning environmental science instruction

Demonstrate a positive attitude towards science and to appreciate the complexity of teaching science

Demonstrate Knowledge and understanding of basic environmental science concepts and process skills discussed in class

Demonstrate understanding of the complexity of the social implications of environmental science

Demonstrate the knowledge and implications of scientific methods

Demonstrate understanding of the interrelatedness of the different disciplines and academic areas

Demonstrate understandings of the interrelations between science, technology and society

Demonstrate the ability to adapt lessons and lesson plans to varying student needs

Demonstrate the ability to plan and teach environmental science lessons that are centered in student hands-on experiences.

IV. Course Projects, Assignments and Student Outcomes

Writing to Learn: (5% of your grade) Write briefly about once each week. I will provide more details about this requirement as the term progresses.

Course Readings: (10%) There is a short list of required readings, books, and magazines to read. Also, at various times, I will assign articles or children's books to read. You will be expected to read these before the due date. I may ask you to write a brief annotation or reaction. Late papers will not be accepted.

Micro-teaching Presentations: (20%) You will be required to design and teach two mini environmental science lessons to your peers. The first lesson presentation should last at least 10-15 minutes and will consist of a demonstration and discussion. The second lesson will require the rest of us to do an experiment or laboratory exercise of your design. In each lesson, be sure to promote critical thinking and problem solving. Both lessons should follow the Ohio Science Model guidelines and include a detailed, written lesson plan. A peer and I will give you written feedback about your lessons. You will also do a self evaluation of your lesson.

Book Report #1 (15%) Read and write a book report on Hawkin, P. et al.(1999). Natural capitalism. Your book report should be brief (3 pages typed and double spaced) and be representative of your best academic work

Book Report #2 (15%) You will be required to choose one book from the “Required Books” list given below and write a brief (3 page typed and double spaced) book report. You will also give an oral book report to our class that will last no more than 10-15 minutes.

Champions of the Environment Profile (15%) Choose one of the people listed on Audubon's list of 20th Century environmental heroes. Research this person and find out why Audubon nominated this person for this list. What can we learn from this person and why Audubon might have chosen him or her for this list? Write a brief biography (5 double spaced, typed pages or less) including the person's major contributions. Teach us about your environmental hero in class. You can find the list in the Audubon Nov-Dec (1998) issue or at:


Final Exam: (10%) To be discussed later. This will be a take-home writing assignment. You will have the opportunity to draft your own philosophy of science education.

Attendance and Participation (10%) You are expected to come to every class on time and participate orally in class discussions (Note attendance policy below).

Personal Report Card

This report form is supplied for your personal use. Please keep track of your progress through this course and turn your report card in during the last class session. This will give you the opportunity to keep your own records and also to give me comments and feedback.


V. Evaluation Criteria

This course is taught on a mastery learning basis using the typical U. of Toledo grading system. Therefore, a grade of 3.0 will represent satisfactory demonstration or mastery of the required course learning outcomes. Grades 3.5 and higher will be earned by students who demonstrate very strong and outstanding achievement beyond the basic level which is required.

As in any mastery learning situation, you will have opportunities to continue to develop your work and deepen or extend your projects without grading penalty until both you and I judge them to be at lease satisfactory. Therefore, you are expected to draft and revise your work in order to gradually polish the course projects. As part of this, you may wish to interact with your peers and other group members for feedback as you proceed toward the final product. Please make use of the Writing Center on campus for obtaining good feedback on written assignments. I will also meet with you and/or provide written feedback about your work in process as you request.

General criteria:

• Congruence with the course outcomes, session outcomes, and project criteria as given

• Accurate, clearly organized interconnected and contextual understandings of course content

• Accuracy, organization, and clarity of oral and written communication

• Attendance and participation

Note: Specific criteria will be provided for each of the course assignments and projects

VI. General Class Procedures and Logistic Expectations

In a course which focuses on best practice in science education, it seems particularly dangerous to imply that there is "one right way" to learn, to be collegial, to collaborate with other educators, and to demonstrate and use what you have learned. Rather, it seems necessary during this course to deliberately use a wide variety of methodologies, materials, activities and assignments as a woven net, so to speak, in an effort to:

• gather and analyze many different kinds of qualitative and quantitative evidence about what physical science education is all about now and should be like in the future as "raw grist" for...

• reflection about your role as science teacher and future leader in educational reform from as many perspectives as possible.

Only in this way, it seems, can we hope to adequately respond to the actual complexity found in us as leader-educators working in diverse settings with specific colleagues, students, and community concerns.

Therefore, the course will consist of an on-going cycle of individual readings, hands-on laboratory experiences, lesson design work, and reflection as well as instructor or guest presentations, whole class discussion and problem solving, and small group collaboration.

Attendance Policy

Due to the nature of the course and the relatively short time we have to learn together, it is highly desirable for participants to attend, actively participate in all class sessions, and successfully complete all assignments. However, it is also recognized that occasional professional and personal responsibilities may hinder attendance. When this happens, [a] if possible, please notify me and a pre-designated learning partner ahead of time, [b] obtain any class session notes and handouts from your partner, and [c] contact me about any aspect of class content which is not clearly understood after talking with your partner. More than one absence will result in a lowered grade.

Standard Resources for Learning

In addition to a small number of photocopied articles I will bring to class, the following books will be used as texts during this course.


1) Ohio Department of Education (1994) Science: Ohio's model competency-based program. Columbus: OH Department of Education, Document Management Services

2) (1998) Audubon Magazine, the entire November-December Issue

3) Hawken, P. et al. (1999) Natural Capitalism NY: Little, Brown & Company

4) Choose one of the following:

Carson, R. ( 1962) Silent Spring. Boston: Houghton Mifflin ISBN 0-395-68330-0

Thoreau, H.D. (1993) Walden. NY: Barnes & Noble Classics (Or any other publisher)

Leopold, A. (1949) A Sand County Almanac NY: Oxford University Press ISBN 0-19-500777-8

Verey, R. (1989) A Country Woman's Year. Boston: Little, Brown & Company ISBN O-316-89977-I


AAAS (1993) Benchmarks for science literacy: Project 2061. New York: Oxford University Press.

Butzow, C.M. (1989) Science through children's literature. Englewood, CA: Teacher Ideas Press

DeBruin, J. [Any of his Carthage IL: Good Apple books.]

Driver, R. (1994) Making sense of secondary science. New York: Routledge

Hubbard, R. (1990) The politics of women's biology. New Brunswick: Rutgers

Keller, E.F. (1985) Reflections on gender in science. New Haven: Yale University Press

Kesselheim, A.S.; et al. (1998) Wow: The wonders of wetlands. MT: Environmental Concerns

Liem, T.L. (1992) Invitations to science inquiry (2nd Ed). Chino Hills, CA: Science Inquiry Press

Loucks-Horsley, S. (1990). Elementary school science for the 90's. Alexandria, Virginia: ASCD

NRC (1996) National Science Education Standards. Washington DC: National Academy Press

Ontario Science Center. (1984) Science Works: 65 experiments that introduce the fun and wonder of science. Reading MA: Addison-Wesley

Stein, S. (1979) The science book New York: Workman Publishing

Stepans, J. (1996) Targeting students' misconceptions: Physical science concepts using the conceptual change model. Riverview FL: The Idea Factory

VII. Assumptions about Computer Technology

Since an important theme for this course is learning to use computer technology to influence student engaged learning, we will make some basic assumptions about your familiarity with or access to computers. If these assumptions are not valid for you, please contact the instructor during the first week of class. We will negotiate some way to make sure you can fully participate in all the course activities.

  1. You have access to a computer that is linked to the internet
  2. You are familiar with basic word processing
  3. You have done email and can attach documents, etc
  4. You can negotiate your way through WWW

VIII. Other Course Materials

Follow This Link to Learning Modules and Other Materials

NCREL Learning Modules  

Lesson Planning Activity

Lesson Plan Form

Personal Report Card

NCREL Pathways


 IX. Tentative Schedule

Session # Theme Activity X= Due
  Part I: Introductions and Identification of the Issues    
1 Creating a learning community

Introduction to Environmental Ed


Activity #1

2 Introductions continue

Resources and related issues

Selected Heroes of Conservation

Planning lessons

Writing to Learn

Activity #1 Continued

Activity #2


3   Writing to Learn

Activity #3

Read Module 3

4 Field inquiry

Stranahan Arboretum nature walk

Writing to Learn

Activity #4

5 Planning and teaching Lesson Planning Activity




  Part II: Learning to Teach Environmental Science    

Planning and teaching

Writing to Learn

Book Report #1 is due today

Bring a draft of your lesson plan



7 Planning and teaching

Field inquiry

Writing to Learn

Micro teaching #1

Activity #5


8 Planning and teaching Writing to Learn

Activity #6

9 Classics in Environmental science literature    
10 Field Inquiry

Thoreau Walk (Irwin Prairie, Wildwood or Secor Metropark)

Classics in Environmental science literature

Book Report #2 is due today X
11 Guided practice, planning and teaching

Field Inquiry

12 Guided practice, planning and teaching


Micro teaching #2 X
  Part III Focus on the Field and Environmental Inquiry    

Field Inquiry

14 Champions of the Environment

Field inquiry

Champions of the Environment Profiles are due today

Activity #7

15 Debriefing Final exam handed out

Personal Report Card


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