2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog 
    
    Jul 18, 2024  
2021-2022 Pierce College Catalog [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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PCADE 062 Environmental Science (ESL) (5 credits)



Course Description
This non-lab natural science course is designed for students to critically analyze environmental concepts and issues at both the local and international level. Emphasis will be on scientific evidence-based interpretation of environmental data to draw conclusions and the development of resolutions. Field trip required.

Student Outcomes
1. Recognize the interdisciplinary and historical nature of environmental issues.
2. Discuss the impact that philosophy, religion, art, media, tradition, and popular culture have had on people’s thinking about the environment.
3. Summarize the roles of the atmosphere, lithosphere, and hydrosphere within the environment and relate each to the biosphere.
a. HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
b. HS-ESS3-6. Use a computational representation to illustrate the relationships among Earth systems and how those relationships are being modified due to human activity.
c. HS-ESS2-7. Construct an argument based on evidence about the simultaneous coevolution of Earth’s systems and life on Earth.
4. Investigate inter- and intra-species relationships through data analysis, categorization of trophic levels, and construction of food webs. Relate these behaviors to species survival and ecosystem maintenance.
a. HS-LS2-1. Use mathematical and/or computational representations to support explanations of factors that affect carrying capacity of ecosystems at different scales.
b. HS-LS2-6. Evaluate the claims, evidence, and reasoning that the complex interactions in ecosystems maintain relatively consistent numbers and types of organisms in stable conditions, but changing conditions may result in a new ecosystem.
c. HS-LS2-8. Evaluate the evidence for the role of group behavior on individual and species’ chances to survive and reproduce.
5. Discuss the value of wilderness and biodiversity and threats to these systems, including pollution, invasive species, and human encroachment.
a. HS-LS4-5: Evaluate the evidence supporting claims that changes in environmental conditions may result in: (1) increases in the number of individuals of some species, (2) the emergence of new species over time, and (3) the extinction of other species.
b. HS-LS2-2. Use mathematical representations to support and revise explanations based on evidence about factors affecting biodiversity and populations in ecosystems of different scales.
c. HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
6. Diagram the hydrological cycle and the movement of water and energy within it.
7. Evaluate how changes in the hydrological cycle affects other surface processes.
a. HS-ESS2-5. Plan and conduct an investigation of the properties of water and its effects on Earth materials and surface processes.
b. HS-ESS2-2. Analyze geoscience data to make the claim that one change to Earth’s surface can create feedbacks that cause changes to other Earth systems.
8. Examine local water quality through citizen-science and service-learning projects.
a. Students will articulate ways in which individual and community action can play a role in creating sustainable systems.
9. Explain the bio-geo-chemical cycles and summarize the flow of energy in an ecosystem as it relates to carbon and air quality.
a. HS-ESS2-6. Develop a quantitative model to describe the cycling of carbon among the hydrosphere, atmosphere, geosphere, and biosphere.
b. HS-ESS2-4. Use a model to describe how variations in the flow of energy into and out of Earth’s systems result in changes in climate.
c. HS-LS2-4. Use mathematical representations to support claims for the cycling of matter and flow of energy among organisms in an ecosystem.
d. HS-LS2-5. Develop a model to illustrate the role of photosynthesis and cellular respiration in the cycling of carbon among the biosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere, and geosphere.
10. Analyze geoscience data and the results from global climate models to make an evidence-based forecast of the current rate of global or regional climate change and associated future impacts to Earth’s systems (HS-ESS3-5)
a. HS-ESS3-1. Construct an explanation based on evidence for how the availability of natural resources, occurrence of natural hazards, and changes in climate have influenced human activity.
11. Explain the forces that shape local land use and the role human practices, such as agricultural methods and soil management, play in the global environment.
12. Compare and contrast the differences between renewable and non-renewable energy sources and evaluate their relative contributions to climate change.
a. HS-ESS3-2. Evaluate competing design solutions for developing, managing, and utilizing energy and mineral resources based on cost-benefit ratios.
13. Relate environmental, social, political, and economic factors to the concept of sustainability.
a. HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
14. Evaluate the political processes required to attempt the solution of environmental degradation issues at the local, national, and international level.
15. Assess the use of multidisciplinary solutions to alleviate or modify human impacts on the environment.
a. HS-LS2-7. Design, evaluate, and refine a solution for reducing the impacts of human activities on the environment and biodiversity.
b. HS-LS4-6. Create or revise a simulation to test a solution to mitigate adverse impacts of human activity on biodiversity.
c. HS-ESS3-4. Evaluate or refine a technological solution that reduces impacts of human activities on natural systems
16. Debate a variety of environmental issues from both “pro” and “con” viewpoints.
17. Describe the distribution, growth, and dynamics of the world human population and analyze the impact of the human population on the environment.
a. HS-ESS3-3. Create a computational simulation to illustrate the relationships among the management of natural resources, the sustainability of human populations, and biodiversity.
18. Analyze the major contemporary environmental issues in the Western U.S. (local water issues, land use concerns, and conservation concerns)
19. Communicate environmental data to an audience through reports or presentations.



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