The Understanding Our World  Home Page

 Science is the process of learning, not the "facts" we learn.

     "Understanding our World" is a three-semester package that covers science requirements for IDLS Majors.  There are six 1-or 2-credit block courses that span the freshman year and the first semester of the sophomore year.  All but the last course in this sequence are part of the proposed General Education Cluster 3 sequence together with Math 107. 

       Each class will be taught in an interactive, interdisciplinary setting and will be limited to about 24-32 students per section.

Link to Science Standards of Learning for Virginia Public Schools
Information About the Inez Roop Learning Community
National Science Education Standards
JMU Teacher Education Program Overview
Progress Report for the First Two Semesters of the 
IDLS Science Core Pilot Project

Course Descriptions
GSci 161E  Science Processes

Online Text for Science Processes (2002 Draft)

     Observing, classifying, measuring, inferring, communicating, predicting and experimenting in all science disciplines.  This course will introduce core science process skills for all science disciplines in a hands-on, integrated laboratory block.
GSci 162E  The Science of the Planets
Course Packet for Dr. Klevickis' section

Student Web Pages


     The course will focus on the Earth and her neighbors, including the formation, evolution and dynamics of the Solar System.  Students will also explore the similarities and differences of different solar system bodies (stars, planets, asteroids, comets) and the possibilities for finding life elsewhere. 
GSci 163E 
The Matter of Matter
     This course will focus on the topic of matter: particle theory, forms, characteristics, properties, atomic theory and models, conservation of mass and energy, nuclear reactions, heat transfer within matter, chemical bonds and chemical structures.
GSci 164E  How Things Work

GSCI 164 Thoughts on Course Development

       A hands-on conversation on how technology, science and engineering come together to produce the tools and devices we use.  The course will cover many of the traditional concepts presented in an introductory physics course by probing the way things work. The course will treat coordinate systems and their use in describing motion, forces and energy conservation, thermodynamics (temperature, pressure, heat), light (color, ray model, wave model), waves (sound), magnetism, and electricity. The course will indirectly reinforce skills developed in other courses in the package including scientific tools (mathematics, graphing, diagramming, experimenting, and analyzing data) and using informational resources.
GSci 165
How Life Works (Course Home Page)
Online Text for How Life Works 
     Patterns, energy, information, life’s machinery, feedback, community and evolution.  These are major themes in how life works. This course will use these themes as a backdrop for looking at the way life works. 
GSci 166E  Environment in Context      This course will use environmental issues and topics as a unifying concept to introduce ecology, environmental chemistry and evolution.  Topics such as resource utilization and conservation, air and water quality issues, ecological succession, community processes, biological diversity and evolution may be used to illustrate the concepts and to demonstrate the relationship between science and public policy.
Math 107 
Fundamentals of Mathematics I-II.  3 credits. 
Sets, logic, numeration systems, number theory, probability and statistics, measurement, geometry and an
introduction to computers. 

Internet Field Trips   
Zoom demos from the Science Museum of Virginia
PBS Nova Online Send me email:  Cindy Klevickis

Download the MS Word Version of the Course Approval Documentation including Course Descriptions, Course Objectives and Sample Syllabii

Package Approval Form for General Education