Environmental Systems Science (SCIE 4104E)

Course Description

This course focuses on Earth as a system and explores the interdependent relationships among the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere.  Through inquiry-based laboratories and field investigations students learn to take scientifically valid measurements in the fields of atmosphere, hydrology, soil and land cover/phenology.  Students will gain experience in the analysis and mapping of scientific data, will design and investigate their own science inquiry, and present oral and written reports to their peers.  

Required Materials:

  • Environmental Science: Foundations and Application, Author: Andrew J. Friedland, Publisher: W. H. Freeman, Edition: 1st, Year Published: 2011, ISBN: 978-1429240291
  • GLOBE Program Teacher’s Guide, selected readings, science notebook, and clipboard.

                   15% - Homework/Reaction paper (3)     
                   15% - Quizzes (2)
                   15% - Mapping/Analysis (GIS) Projects (3)
                   20% - Research Group Project/Presentation (1)
                   25% - Final Exam (1)
                   10% - Participation in class discussions, field trips and experiments.  

Course Goals:
The goal of this course is to provide an integrated background in earth system science and to become proficient at scientific practices including asking questions, developing and using models, planning and carrying out investigations, analyzing and interpreting data, using mathematics and computational thinking, constructing explanations, engaging argument from evidence, and obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information.

Homework/Reaction paper- You will be responding to the three journal articles that you have been provided that address issues around the GLOBE program and engaging students in authentic scientific research experiences.  Write a 2-3 pages communicating your thoughts regarding the main ideas that the author is proposing.  Include your classroom experiences to support your statements where appropriate. Report are due in 2 week after article are given to students.

Quizzes: There will be two quizzes during the course.  Quizzes will be multiple choice questions based on material taught during class. Each quiz will have 15 questions and to be solved in 20 min.

GIS Projects: You will learn the basic use of ArcGIS software in the class.  In the GIS projects you will creating maps based on environmental data (CO2 emission, Energy data, temperature, deforestation, etc.) provided to you.

Research Group Project:  Under research group project activity each group will have 3-4 students. The project topic will be decided based on mutual discussion between group and instructor.  Student will be using GIS software to produce maps for group project. The grading for this activity is based on final outcome of project (1) 5-6 page report and (2) PowerPoint presentation (9-10 slides).

Final Examination: Final exam will be mix of (1) multiple choice questions, (2) mathematical related problems, and (3) drawing charts/maps by hand.

Homework and final report format:
All report must be submitted as hard copy in following format:

  • Font should 11 point, Times New Roman, Single spaced lines, Justified.
  • Page: Margin 1 inch all side.
  • Bold Title and Sub-titles
Policy on Academic Integrity:

Under the CUNY Student Academic Integrity Policy - “Academic Dishonesty is prohibited in The City University of New York and is punishable by penalties, including failing grades, suspension, and expulsion, as provided herein.” Violations of this policy fall into these areas that include but are not limited to:
  • Cheating
  •    Obtaining Unfair Advantage
  • Falsifying of Records and Official Documents
  • Plagiarizing

Here are more details on plagiarism from the CUNY academic integrity policy:
Plagiarism is the act of presenting another person’s ideas, research or writings as your own.

The following are some examples of plagiarism, but by no means is it an exhaustive list:

  • Copying another person’s actual words without the use of quotation marks and footnotes attributing the words to their source.
  • Presenting another person’s ideas or theories in your own words without acknowledging the source.
  • Using information that is not common knowledge without acknowledging the source.
  • Failing to acknowledge collaborators on homework and laboratory assignments.

Internet plagiarism includes submitting downloaded term papers or parts of term papers, paraphrasing or copying information from the internet without citing the source, and “cutting & pasting” from various sources without proper attribution.

We welcome any questions you may have concerning academic integrity and will do our best to help you understand the standards of academic scholarship. We use CUNY guidelines to sanction any incidents of academic dishonesty in our courses. Any student who violates this policy will FAIL the course.

Tarendra Lakhankar, PhD, PE .
NOAA-CREST Center, The City College of the New York
ST-185, Steinman Hall, 160 Convent Ave, New York, NY 10031
Email: tlakhankar (at) ccny.cuny.edu Office: 212-650-5815  Fax: 212 650 8097