Biological Literature

I. Course description

This course is one in which environmental ethics and natural questions are discussed.  It is rooted in articles from various sources, some biased, some objective, and the students lead discussions on their validity, their message, and what it means to them.

II. Instructor’s educational preparation and current employment

I’ve been a botanist for 5 years, and a science teacher for 5 years.  I’ve also have had a thirst for reading over time.  I use this to break up units in my classroom.  I work at Fatima High School, and my email address is

III. Rationale for inclusion in a program for gifted students

This is a topic that jumps around and into almost any field of study within science, and within culture as well.  It is based on critical thinking skills and in metacognition.  These are skills that all youth can benefit from, and the gifted kid often sinks their teeth into.  The topics lead into many areas of interest, allowing the gifted kid to utilize their wonderful creativity.

IV. Major topics covered
  • population
  • technology
  • farming
  • animal rights
  • zoos
  • the Missouri river
  • wildlife
  • roads
  • women in science
  • objectivity

* All of the above topics and more are based on critical thinking, article critique and metacognition, and shared and discussed as a group, with respect to each other’s ideas

V. Pre-requisite knowledge

The ability to read various levels of writing and basic science background.

VI. Learning objectives
  • To critically evaluate sources of information
  • To discuss various ethical topics
  • To evaluate and understand our actions and beliefs
  • To learn from others, and nurture tolerance of views that may differ from your own.
VII. Primary source material

Essays written in ethical journals, books, collections of essays, popular magazines, newspapers, etc. If you would like a list of what I’ve used, please email me and I will attach a biography of the 27 articles we utilized for these 3 weeks, going from John Muir to Stephen Jay Gould.

VIII. Supplementary source material

Our minds!