Academics: Being a Catawba Student and Environmental Education Major
What I Have Learned During My First Weeks of Class at Catawba
by Brittany Parker '09
Well, it's been about two full weeks here at Catawba College as a member of the junior class and let me tell you, it has been busy. Besides running cross country and being just a student, I have had my hands full!
Throughout this week, I have been able to see how other classes play a major role in my Environmental Science Studies. I had mentioned in my first blog that I am taking Environmental Education Resources 1, but I failed to mention any other classes that I am taking this semester.
Because I just changed my major this year, I am doubling up on a lot of science courses so that hopefully I can still graduate on time. But this year's schedule for me consists of Principles of Biology and General Chemistry 1 — not to mention, the other education courses that I am taking which will help prepare me for teaching, no matter the context.
I have been very nervous about my involvement in these science classes because for me, it's all new. I just know that I love Environmental Science, and now it's time for me to learn all of the aspects of it. Last week started off with an awesome bio-lab. We were able to take a scenic walk through Catawba's Ecological Preserve and were told to look for different species, populations, and communities — there were tons!
Afterwards, we collected some water samples from each pond and were able to look at microscopic creatures that made their home in each type of water. This was really neat, and we concluded that what was living in the ponds had a direct correlation to the species that we saw living around and outside of the ponds. It was really fun!
The next day I had my Chemistry lab, and boy, it was tough. We are moving into studying and calculating reactions. My initial impression of this class was that it has absolutely nothing to do with the environment. I have since then realized that it has a great deal to do with Environmental Science. The elements that we study continually explain why so many things can and cannot exist in the environment. It's amazing that so many things make up this major that I thought I completely understood. I realize now that I have no idea yet as to just how large this system called the environment can be. I just hope one day, I can grasp all of the info like my professors. Boy, then I would never have any trouble understanding!
And finally my last science class of the week, Environmental Education Resources 1. Guess what we got to do?! Not only did we go outside in the Preserve to test our senses and focus on what we saw going on (change of seasons, animal's actions, etc.), we were able to place ourselves in an administrative role and make lesson plans for small children — teaching them some important part/aspect of the environment.
My first thought at this was "Phew — this will be so easy" but when I sat down and began to think about my audience and how to tailor what I wanted to say, I realized that little children were going to be so much more of a challenge then my future audience of high schoolers. It took a lot of thought, but each person in the class came up with an actual lesson plan and shared ideas that they used to teach points and interesting facts.
Afterwards, our professor told us that we need to polish them up because very soon we are going to teach these young children — by ourselves!! I am so excited because in just these three classes I am getting hands-on experience as well as actual practice in my future field. So much for the thought that class is class and what you learn doesn't help you in the future — I've learned here this week that these classes have everything to do with my preparedness and ability for the successfulness of my future career. Yeah!
If you have any questions about what classes I am taking, what exactly I do here outside of class or really anything — just ask!
Brittany welcomes e-mail correspondence from current and prospective members of Catawba's community and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.