GALION — Amy Tyree, a fourth-year science teacher at Galion High School was ecstatic when administrators approached her about creating a new Environmental Science course for high school students.
The goal of the new course is to offer a higher-level physical science option in which students can apply scientific principles and laws learned from previous courses in physical science, biology and chemistry.
Students will analyze and interpret data relating to the past, present and future of the planet.
“My students know this is a passion for me,” Tyree said. “They have willingly signed up to share part of their senior year with me, exploring our outdoor campus and learning how to live an environmentally sustainable life.
“I am able to utilize experience gained over the past 25 years ranging from working as an educator at the Columbus Zoo with Jack Hanna to many hours of graduate work and personal time spent pouring over research.”
Topics of study in the course include Earth’s history, the atmosphere, oceans, ecosystems, agriculture, population dynamics, energy challenges, and climate change.
Student-driven, individual research projects coinciding with community service projects are highly encouraged.
“I’m planning to major in Environmental Science at the University of Toledo after graduation,” said senior Colten Skaggs. “The one thing I’ve learned from this course so far is that you need to have an open mind and be willing to try comprehending new ideas.”
The “Toilet Tissue Timeline” project was a relative timeline of major geological events in Earth’s history. Students created visual representations of these events and placed them on a 67-foot-long toilet tissue timeline.
“I learned when certain animals and plants existed, and when certain objects and events happened on Earth,” said senior Clarissa Castle. “The completed timeline was completely different than my previous thoughts.”
The “Toilet Tissue Timeline” helped students gain perspective as to how our geological record is interpreted by scientific research. And that understanding of basic principles of geology and scientific methods of research will lay the foundation for future topics being explored during the course.
“Seeing the timeline really put everything into perspective,” seniorMarisa Gwinner said. “Seeing how long-ago events happened on Earth was mind blowing because we can’t imagine billions of years, but you could relatively see it in the timeline.”
Tyree sees a lot of positives coming out of the new course.
“It is important to offer courses that build upon prior knowledge and serve to bridge the unintentional gap formed between the realms of the physical and biological sciences,” she said. “They truly go hand in hand, and I enjoy seeing the students make those connections.”