From UBC Wiki
Jump to: navigation, search
First-Year Seminar in Science
SCIE 113
Office Hours:
Class Schedule:
Important Course Pages
Lecture Notes
Course Discussion

UBC's First-Year Seminar in Science offers a small-class experience and extensive faculty member interaction. It explores science as a comprehensive way of knowing--its curriculum will strengthen your critical thinking and communication skills, and a science and society speaker series will broaden your horizons.

What is Science 113?

This is a brand new course that fulfills part of the communication requirement for UBC Science students.

Who Can Take It?

Students in first-year science (but not Science One or Coordinated Science) are eligible. However, spaces are limited.

How is It Different?

It’s a chance for first year students to interact with a faculty member in a small group setting (maximum 25 students/class). You will get to know your professor, and your classmates. This is not a typical lecture-style course. Classes will involve debates, discussions and other activities to get you thinking and talking about what science is, how it is done, and how it impacts your daily life. There will be no final exam – grading will be done based entirely on multiple short writing assignments.

What Will You Learn?

You'll begin learning the skills of scientific writing: how to effectively use empirical evidence to support your arguments, how to write clearly and concisely, and how to cite evidence properly. You’ll get lots of feedback from your professor on how to improve, and you’ll have a head start when it comes to writing lab reports and assignments in your future science classes. You will also learn to look critically at arguments made by others--by other scientists, companies, or the media. Many companies and journalists make claims based on so-called scientific evidence. You’ll learn to assess whether valid science actually supports these claims. You will also get to hear from a wide range of dynamic guest speakers from all walks of life who will challenge you to rethink your ideas about science. You may be surprised by how science is used by people in a vast diversity of career types, not just academics. You’ll also come away with a better idea of how understanding science and the scientific process can make you a more informed and well-rounded global citizen.

SCIE113 Learning Objectives

Unit 1- Defining the nature of science

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Provide an opinion on what defines the nature of science.
  • Identify, and restate in their own words, the thesis statement in a piece of writing
  • Create a thesis statement in their own writing.

Unit 2-Science as a way of knowing

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Discuss how science as a way of knowing is used to understand the world, i.e. when is a scientific approach appropriate?
  • Give examples from personal experience of scientific and non-scientific approaches.
  • Put science as a way of knowing in context, alongside, and interacting with, other ways of knowing.
  • Organize their writing into paragraphs.

Unit 3: Presenting scientific arguments

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Identify the elements of an argument: claim and the interpretation of evidence that supports the claim.
  • Recognize when it is appropriate to use the different types of scientific literature such as primary literature, reviews and textbooks, and cite it appropriately
  • Defend the validity of an argument by evaluating evidence in a variety of genres, including popular media, websites and scientific journals
  • Use an outline to organize a scientific argument with a claim and supporting evidence.

Unit 4: Evidence in a scientific worldview

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Explain what constitutes scientific evidence and identify it in different contexts
  • Give an example of how several lines of evidence come together to build a scientific model and how the acceptance of the most well supported models creates a scientific paradigm
  • Recognize the strengths and shortcomings of scientific evidence derived from observations and experiments, and from models and mathematical relationships.
  • Gather evidence, and restate it in your own words, for use in your writing.

Unit 5: Scientific community

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Explain the different roles of people involved in scientific research.
  • Compare and contrast applied and basic research
  • Using a variety of sources of information, write a synopsis or abstract.

Unit 6: Science and the global citizen

By the end of this unit, students will be able to…

  • Outline their opinion on where science can contribute positively to society in the future
  • Identify where they are using a scientific approach in their daily life and where they see themselves using science in the future
  • Identify opportunities to perform research in their area of interest
  • Write an evidence-based report, on a topic that relates to the student's life, that demonstrates mastery of the course writing goals.