Investigating the Natural World

Investigating the Natural World (7 hours required including a 1-hour laboratory accompanying a 3-hour course)

These courses introduce students to natural sciences in the modern world.  Both lecture and laboratory courses focus on how science is conducted and how scientific knowledge advances in individual fields.  Students in these courses will understand the process by which scientists gain knowledge about objects, phenomena, the laws of nature, and the laws of the physical world.  Natural sciences study the physical world and its phenomena.

Learning Objectives (Fall 2014)

At the conclusion of an AINW lecture/lab courses, students should be able to do the following:

  • Identify the methods of inquiry that lead to scientific knowledge (Lecture courses only)
  • Distinguish science from pseudo-science (Lecture courses only)
  • Make predictions about natural phenomena using theories and models as unifying principles (Lecture courses only)
  • Analyze and interpret data in a graphical, symbolic, and/or numeric format (Lab courses only)
  • Discriminate between association and causation (Lecture courses only)
  • Identify the types of evidence used to establish causation (Lecture courses only)

Accomplishing the Objectives

Instructors should clearly identify how the course will accomplish the above objectives. Possibilities include:

  • Participating in class discussion and debate
  • Engaging in teamwork and other collaborative exercises
  • Writing analytical or evaluative papers, perhaps incorporating original research
  • Making oral presentations
  • Performing laboratory experiments
  • Conducting data analyses
  • Participating in field work