Introduction and General Course Procedures/Policies

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SCI 121 Science without Borders

Summer I 2012 (on-line)

Dr. Gerald Dillashaw

Introduction and General Course Procedures/Policies


Welcome to SCI 121 Science without Borders! This section of SCI 121 is being offered via distance learning technologies. As an on-line course, you, the student, are largely responsible for keeping up with the work. All of the course materials have been given to you in the mandatory meeting held prior to leaving campus for the summer or posted on the Moodle course site. As the instructor, I have designed the pacing schedule and will provide on-line support, but you have to do the work.

Course Description

SCI 121 Science without Borders 4 s.h.

This course will challenge every student to think critically about the biggest ideas produced by the natural sciences. Students will learn to think like a scientist as they explore the development of evidence supporting and applications for these ideas, which span atoms, the universe and everything in between. Also, student groups will use the scientific method to approach complex “real-world” problems that intersect with the natural sciences. Students are strongly encouraged to take this course during their freshman or sophomore year. This course does not carry lab credit.

Course Materials

  • Textbook; Trefil, J. & Hazen, R. M., The Sciences: An Integrated Approach, 6th ed. John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2010. (ISBN: 978-0-470-11854-2)

  • Worksheets, assignments and other needed course materials will be loaded onto the course site in Moodle. You will be responsible for downloading and completing as needed.

  • Some mathematics will be used and you might find a basic calculator useful. Alternatively, any needed mathematical computations can easily be completed using the functions available in the Excel spreadsheet program.

Course Goals

By the end of this course, students should have attained the following:

  • A basic understanding of the physical laws of energy, motion, and gravity

  • A basic understanding of the model of the atom, the Periodic Table of the elements and the bonds that hold atoms together in a molecule

  • An understanding of the universe and our solar system

  • An understanding of the Earth’s composition and plate tectonics

  • A basic understanding of cellular structure, function, and the flow of genetic information

  • The ability to apply the scientific method to test a hypothesis

  • The ability of locate, analyze and communicate scientific information

Course Requirements

  • Major exams (3) 20% each 60%

  • Research paper 20%

  • Quizzes/assignments 20%

Contact Information

Our primary mode of contact with be via e-mail If an emergency arises you can contact me on my cell phone, 336-260-7372 or office phone, 336-278-5864.

General Instructional Plan for the Course

The course will consists of textbook readings, worksheet exercises, videos, and assignments from web sites, and a mini-research project on a science issue. There will be four (4) short quizzes and three (3) major examinations. There will NOT be a cumulative final exam.

  • PowerPoint slides and lecture notes will be posted for the major units of the course. Not all chapters of the textbook will be covered; pay attention to the page numbers in the assigned readings.

  • At times you will need access websites and videos to complete assignments. Instructions are provided where needed.

  • For the four quizzes, the time that the quiz will be open is posted. You will have 30 minutes to complete the quiz from the time you start taking the quiz. I suggest that you allow yourself ample time to complete the quiz rather than waiting until the last half-hour. There will be no make-ups allowed for the quizzes unless I am contacted before the quiz opens and approve the delay.

  • A similar procedure will be followed for the three major exams. The exams will be open for a specified period and you will have two hours to complete each exam during the time the exam is open.

  • All assignments are due by the deadline indicated. Due to the short duration of a summer school course and the pacing of this on-line experience, no late work will be accepted.

For Technical Assistance

If you need technical assistance during the course, please follow the suggestions below:

  • Check the Elon Technology wiki at

  • If your question is not addressed by the above, send an e-mail to:


    • In your e-mail to the help desk, describe the problem clearly and the transcriptions of any error messages that you received

    • This course number, course name, and instructor name

    • The web browser you are using (i.e., Internet Explore, Firefox, etc.)

    • The operating system of your computer

    • Whether you are connecting via a modem or within a wireless network

  • Call the Help Desk at 1-336-278-5200. Summer hours for the Help Desk are:

Syllabus for SCI 121 Science without Borders

Course Outline

Unit I The Nature of Science and Scientific Methodology Chapter 1 & Appendix B

Unit II Organization of Matter

Structure of the Atom Chapters 8 & 13

Chemical Periodicity and Chemical Bonding Chapters 10

The Atomic Nucleus and Nuclear Energy Chapter 12

Unit III Energy and the Electromagnetic Spectrum Chapters 3, 5 & 6

Unit IV Origin and Structure of the Universe

The Stars and Cosmology Chapters 14 & 15

The Solar System Chapter 16

Unit V The Dynamic Earth

Plate Tectonics Chapter 17

Unit VI Living Systems

The Cell Chapter 21

Molecules of Living Systems Chapter 22

Classical and Modern Genetics Chapter 23

Evolution Chapter 25

Daily Assignments




31 May 12

The Scientific Method and Hypothesis Testing

Review PowerPoint slides posted in Moodle

Access explanation for the Pendulum exercise

Complete the pendulum activity; Worksheet and graph due by 8:00 a.m. Monday, 4 June 12

Chapter 1

Appendix B

1 June 12

Structure of the Atom

Chapter 8

4 June 12

The Periodic Table

Developing periodic table activity

5 June 12

Chemical Bonds

Quiz 1 opens 8:00 a.m. (30 minute time limit)

Chapter 10, pp. 196-213

6 June 12

The Atomic Nucleus and Radioactive Decay

Radioactive decay worksheet

Dating by using radioactive half-life worksheet

Quiz 1 closes 8:00 a.m.

Chapter 12

7 June 12

Exam 1 opens 8:00 a.m. (2-hour time limit)

Energy, Electricity, and the Electromagnetic Spectrum

Chapter 3

Chap 5, pp. 91-101

Chapter 6

8 June 12

The Stars

Stellar Evolution

Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram web exercise

Exam 1 closes 11:55 p.m.

Chapter 14

11 June 12

Cosmology – The Big Bang Theory

Hertzsprung-Russell Diagram web exercise due 8:00 a.m.

Chapter 15

12 June 12

The Solar System

Quiz 2 opens 8:00 a.m. (30-minute time limit)

Outline of Research Paper due 11:00 p.m.

Chapter 16

13 June 12

Plate Tectonics

Coursepack on graphing seismic data

Quiz 2 closes 8:00 a.m.

Chapter 17

14 June 12

Plate Tectonics (continued)

Video and worksheet

Quiz 3 open at 8:00 a.m. (30-minute time limit)

15 June 12

Quiz 3 closes at 8:00 a.m.

Ecology, Ecosystems, and the Environment

Chapter 19

18 June 12

The Cell

Exam 2 opens at 6:00 p.m. (2-hour time limit)

Chapter 21

19 June 12

Exam 2 closes at 11:55 p.m.

20 June 12

Molecules of Living Systems

Chapter 22

21 June 12

25 June 12

Classical and Modern Genetics/DNA

Research Project Due 8:00 a.m.

Quiz 4 opens at 8:00 a.m. (30-minute time limit)

Chapter 23

26 June 12

Quiz 4 closes at 8:00 a.m.

DNA Worksheet

27 June 12


Video and worksheet

Chapter 25

28 June 12

Remaining questions

Exam 3 opens 8:00 a.m.

29 June 12

Exam 3 closes 9:00 p.m. (2-hour time limit)

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