san diego state university
Natural Science 100
Course Syllabus
    Instructor: Tony DiMauro
Office: P-234:
Office Hours: MWF 10-11 AM

    Introduction to concepts and processes in science intended to show why science is essential to a liberal education by recognizing relationships with other areas of knowledge such as philosophy, literature, fine arts, and economics. Emphasis varies with instructor.  

I like to believe that people in the long run are going to do more to promote peace than our governments. Indeed, I think that people want peace so much that one of these days governments had better get out of the way and let them have it. --- Dwight D. Eisenhower

     Science is not for scientists only. Science belongs to everyone. We are all scientists. We all wonder about the Universe. We all discover Nature's many intricate and fascinating patterns. This is your world. This class is intended to challenge student intellect. It is not intended to memorize facts or to perform well on tests. Knowledge of the process of science in our world is not only a requirement but also a necessity.
Student Learning Outcomes
Students investigate to answer questions about the natural and technological world using reflection and analysis to prepare a plan; to collect, process and interpret data; to communicate conclusions; and to evaluate their plan, procedures and findings.

Communicating Scientifically
Students communicate scientific understanding to different audiences for a range of purposes.

Science in Daily Life
Students select and apply scientific knowledge, skills and understandings across
a range of contexts in daily life.

Acting Responsibly
Students make decisions that include ethical consideration of the impact of the processes
and likely products of science on people and the environment.

Science in Society
Students understand the nature of science as a human activity.
Learning Skills and Bloom's Taxonomy
• observation and recall of information
• knowledge of dates, events, places
• knowledge of major ideas
• mastery of subject matter
Question Cues: list, define, tell, describe, identify, show, label, collect, examine, tabulate, quote, name, who, when, where, etc.
• understanding information
• grasp meaning
• translate knowledge into new context
• interpret facts, compare, contrast
• order, group, infer causes
• predict consequences
Question Cues: summarize, describe, interpret, contrast, predict, associate, distinguish, estimate, differentiate, discuss, extend
• use information
• use methods, concepts, theories in new situations
• solve problems using required skills or knowledge
Questions Cues: apply, demonstrate, calculate, complete, illustrate, show, solve, examine, modify, relate, change, classify, experiment, discover
• seeing patterns
• organization of parts
• recognition of hidden meanings
• identification of components
Question Cues: analyze, separate, order, explain, connect, classify, arrange, divide, compare, select, explain, infer
• use old ideas to create new ones
• generalize from given facts
• relate knowledge from several areas
• predict, draw conclusions
Question Cues: combine, integrate, modify, rearrange, substitute, plan, create, design, invent, what if?, compose, formulate, prepare, generalize, rewrite
• compare and discriminate between ideas
• assess value of theories, presentations
• make choices based on reasoned argument
• verify value of evidence
• recognize subjectivity
Question Cues: assess, decide, rank, grade, test, measure, recommend, convince, select, judge, explain, discriminate, support, conclude, compare, summarize
Critical Thinking Skills

Critical thinking is the use of those cognitive skills or strategies that increase the probability of a desirable outcome. It is used to describe thinking that is purposeful, reasoned and goal directed - the kind of thinking involved in solving problems, formulating inferences, calculating likelihoods, and making decisions when the thinker is using skills that are thoughtful and effective for the particular context and type of thinking task. Critical thinking also involves evaluating the thinking process - the reasoning that went into the conclusion we've arrived at the kinds of factors considered in making a decision. Critical thinking is sometimes called directed thinking because it focuses on a desired outcome.---Diane Halpern
Attributes of a critical thinker:
• asks pertinent questions
• assesses statements and arguments
• is able to admit a lack of understanding or information
• has a sense of curiosity
• is interested in finding new solutions
• is able to clearly define a set of criteria for analyzing ideas
• is willing to examine beliefs, assumptions, and
opinions and weigh them against facts
• listens carefully to others and is able to give feedback
• sees that critical thinking is a lifelong process of self-assessment
• suspends judgment until all facts have been gathered and considered
• looks for evidence to support assumption and beliefs
• is able to adjust opinions when new facts are found
• looks for proof
• examines problems closely
• is able to reject information that is incorrect or irrelevant
Ferrett, S. Peak Performance (1997)
more: Critical Thinking on the Web
Course Structure
The Evolution of the Universe
Students will begin their studies with the very beginning of the Universe, the Big Bang. What was created at the Big Bang, is the age of the universe, is the age of all particles. How did the evolution in scientific thought develop from Aristotle to Einstein.

The Evolution of the Earth
The formation of the Solar System and the earth. The Hadean earth and the evolution of life on earth from a physical sconce perspective.

The Evolution of the Mind
Human sensors
1. How do we think in this discipline? How do we organize knowledge, add to the knowledge base, recognize and test new knowledge? What is our philosophical base? How do we approach questions of ethics? With what theoretical questions are we most concerned?

2. How do we use knowledge in the discipline? How do we apply what we know? How do we recognize unmet needs? How does this discipline make the world a better place? With what other disciplines do we interact?

3. What stimulates our enthusiasm? How do people in our discipline rejuvenate our interest or intellectual involvement? What are our greatest accomplishments and loftiest goals? What makes the discipline a worthwhile field of study?
Requirements and Grading

3 Multiple Choice Tests
Hewitt - Open Book - Knowledge And Comprehension Aquisition
100 points each

3 Online Homework Assignments
Supplemental readings: Bryson, Greene, Rothschild, etc.
Questions to be answered by students and input online.
Students will need access to a computer. Students will use Critical Thinking and Reading skills to answer questions based upon the supplemental readings.
100 points each

Comprehensive Final
100 points

Total Points 700