In the Classroom
Suffield Academy's Department of Science offers a environmentally focused courses.
This course is designed to provide students with the scientific principles, concepts, and methodologies required to understand the interrelationships of the natural world, identify and analyze environmental problems both natural and human-made, evaluate the relative risks associated with these problems, and examine alternative solutions for resolving or preventing them. Environmental science is interdisciplinary; it includes chemistry, earth science, and biology, as well as history, economics, and politics in making decisions about the environment. As such, the course will explore the following main themes: the environment and society, human population growth and its consequences, renewable and nonrenewable natural resources and energy, waste management, and sustainable solutions. The course emphasizes an understanding of systems and processes, and making connections between various topics, rather than short-term memorization of facts. Students will be asked to integrate information from a number of contexts into a reasoned analysis, analogous to a scientist’s approach of devising and implementing solutions to real-world problems. Laboratory and field investigations will support class discussion and guest lectures.
This course serves as an introduction to several different aspects of marine science including oceanography, marine invertebrate, vertebrate zoology incorporating physiological adaptations to the marine environment, and key marine ecosystems such as the intertidal zone and coral reefs. Students will begin by understanding the chemistry of the ocean and the unique problems marine species face as well as how they have adapted to thrive in such an exceptional environment. Building upon that foundation, topics will cover specific ecosystems and the biotic and abiotic factors within them that make them fascinating. Dissections will allow a hands-on experience in learning and comparing the anatomy of various marine species while laboratory and online inquiry exercises will give students a chance to apply content to practice. Current issues such as ocean pollution, overfishing, and effects of climate change will also be highlighted and discussed throughout the year, giving students another opportunity to see science in action and improve their scientific literacy.