P399: Team-teaching art and chemistry in the honors curriculum

Author: Martin Brock, Eastern Kentucky University, USA


Date: 8/5/14

Time: 9:55 AM10:15 AM

Room: MAN 102

Related Symposium: S2

Using a studio-style classroom and some inquiry methodology, a course titled “Chemistry and Art” was offered through the honors program at our institution. The instructors consisted of two faculty, one each from chemistry and art history. Our students consisted of 3 or 4 chemistry majors, as many art majors, and the remaining (out of 15) drawn from random other areas. The 3-credit hour course satisfies the upper-division interdisciplinary requirement for our honors curriculum, and also may be used to fulfill both science and humanities gen ed requirements for university graduation. There were several difficulties behind offering this course. As has consistently been the case in many institutions, it is hard integrating science well into the honors curriculum, as these are often dominated by humanities faculty. There are structural difficulties in getting diverse departments to be willing to part with faculty for such a project, particularly with low enrollments. The stylistic aspects of professors of chemistry and art are significantly different that working together presents unusual challenges. Because of the inherent “messiness” of doing both chemistry and art in an inquiry mode, we needed a dedicated teaching space, and convincing the university to give us the needed area was not trivial. In this presentation, the course itself will be described, but also the issues we had to overcome, which are likely typical of any comprehensive university, will be addressed.

P226: Interdisciplinary courses for non-majors: “SEEing Science in Appalachia”

Author: Martin Brock, Eastern Kentucky University, USA


Date: 8/4/14

Time: 10:15 AM10:35 AM

Room: MAK A1165

Related Symposium: S26

With an NSF TUES grant, the honors program at Eastern Kentucky University developed and implemented a 6-credit hour course that satisfies both the physical science and life science gen ed requirements (with labs) for graduation, by “serving, exploring, and engaging the natural world”. The target students are non-science majors in the honors program in their second year, although we have seen this as a pilot project aiming at a general student population. This course is in its third semester and has two versions, one focused on watershed evaluation and the other using bees; both also look at coal science (this being Eastern Kentucky). Each course is team-taught with one physical scientist and one biological scientist. One highlight of the course is its service-learning component in which our students work with about 130 7th graders from the local middle school. The kids come to EKU to carry out scientific projects guided by our students. Each student shepherds a group of 6-12 kids to collect and analyze samples from a natural setting over several sessions. They then prepare posters for presentation at an end-of-semester convocation. Other components of the course include an inquiry focus and being taught in a studio-type environment. The course also uses “place-based science”, in which locality of scientific investigations (and thus familiarity with the subject) communicate basic ideas. The presentation will show how these components come together to provide a highly robust science education for our students, and improve their overall appreciation for and understanding of scientific ideas.