Ecology, Evolution, and Organismal Biology

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There have been many systematic approaches to solving the problem of how to make science courses interesting to students. One that is currently receiving attention in the sciences is the use of civic engagement within the classroom. This approach works well in small enrollment courses, but it is logistically difficult to implement in large enrollment courses. Large enrollment classes lend themselves more naturally to other civic engagement approaches, such as special topics courses with individual or group research projects. The authors choose to meld the two approaches, thus creating a collection of activity modules for environmental science courses that use a personalized civic engagement model. In this way each student looks at his or her individual impact on society and the environment and researches how to change it. The activity modules they have created seek to engage students on issues vital to the public (climate change, energy, ground-level ozone, etc.). At the conclusion of each module, students calculate just how much they impact their environment or the environment impacts them during the course of their normal day. They then investigate ways that they can change this impact by making changes in their lifestyle.

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Journal of College Science Teaching

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