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Abstract Detail


Taylor, Witt [1], Tary, Anna [1], Cooper, Ranessa [2].

The power of observation and Cape Cod as an outdoor laboratory.

Understanding the value of the scientific method is not trivial for undergraduates majoring in a science discipline, but this concept can be even more difficult for a non-science major to grasp in the classroom. As faculty of a small science department at a leading business university, this challenge is compounded by the idea that we cannot effectively reach students whose professional goals have them destined for the corporate world. As we have shown, course offerings can be designed in a multidisciplinary fashion, one where students are expected to “learn by doing” through field data collection and analysis. In May 2015, Bentley University offered a class of this type called The Coastal Biology of Cape Cod, a 3-credit course that included a week of data collection in major habitats all around Cape Cod, Massachusetts. In particular, the course began with an introduction to the local geology and geohistory, followed by assessment of biotic and abiotic factors affecting organisms (protists, plants, and animals) in their environments. Thus, the students were able to make, and see, a strong connection between the geologic history of the area and their resultant ecological habitats. Field classes with any genre of students can be challenging, but the pilot offering of this coastal biology course was a success. One of the main points that we stressed is the value of critical thinking skills, as these are applicable to and can be directly implemented into their business studies. By putting the students in an atypical situation, where they may not have had much past experience to draw upon, we noted interesting problem solving skills begin to develop during their time in the course. By the last day, the students had gained an appreciation for the scientific method, and specifically, the power of observation, and how scientists work objectively, and in multidisciplinary ways, to better understand our natural world.

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1 - Bentley University, Natural and Applied Science, 100 Jennison Hall, 175 Forest St, Waltham, MA, 02452, USA

New England
Cape Cod
Field Course
Scientific Method.

Presentation Type: Oral Paper
Session: 18, Teaching Section Papers Session I
Location: 101/Savannah International Trade and Convention Center
Date: Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016
Time: 11:00 AM
Number: 18012
Abstract ID:325
Candidate for Awards:None

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