Factory to Faucet: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

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This course is under review for 2021. Course registration will open to accepted students once courses are confirmed.

Course Description

Have you ever wondered what happens after an oil spill? Or maybe you’ve heard stories on the news about pollution and wondered how it got to where it is and what it means for the people and animals nearby? In today’s world, understanding pollution’s impact on the environment is an important for keeping both human and animal communities healthy. Environmental contaminants from the world’s industrial past as well as ongoing use today can have important effects on humans and animals that are challenging to understand and solve. In this class, we’re going to talk about how pollutants move through the environment, what sort of impact they have on different animals, and what that means for us humans.

Using real-world examples and case studies, we will go over how pollution gets into the environment and how it moves once it’s out there. We’ll then talk about the ways environmental contaminants affect habitats and the creatures within them from the cellular to population level and what that means for an impacted site or ecosystem. Finally, we connect these environmental studies to human communities and discuss how people can be impacted, directly and indirectly, by pollution out in the world.

Environmental toxicology is a complicated subject that requires synthesizing information from multiple disciplines, and in this course you will see how all of this information needs to come together to solve today’s environmental problems. In addition to lectures, we will explore these concepts and ideas using a combination of group activities, lab exercises and group discussions. By exploring these topics, you will gain an understanding of how pollution impacts animals in the environment, how researchers approach environmental problems, and how to think critically about complex scientific problems.

This course will offer a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental toxicology that will teach you about pollution’s impact as well as how to engage with scientific ideas in a more comprehensive way. By the end of the course, students will:
• Gain an understanding of how chemicals move in the environment
• Understand how certain chemicals cause toxicity
• Describe how pollution can impact animals at the individual and population level
• Be able to connect scientific information across disciplines
• Learn how to communicate science and talk about it to non-scientists

Prerequisites: Completion of high school biology and chemistry is highly recommended.

Course Information

  • Course Code: CECH0901
  • Length: 1 week

Program Information

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Brown’s Pre-College Program in the liberal arts and sciences, offering over 200 non-credit courses, one- to four-weeks long, taught on Brown’s campus. For students completing grades 9-12 by June 2021.

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