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Science Forward Course Description

Science Forward is a skills-based course that focuses on scientific thinking in the context of a variety of
different fields of science. We focus on the specific skills that allow one to have good Science Sense.
These skills fall into three broad categories: Number Sense, Data Sense, and Knowledge Sense.
Science Sense is
- being able to distinguish science from non-science.
- the ability to recognize how people collect and process facts into knowledge.
- being able to question and evaluate information that is presented as scientific.
- being an informed consumer, evaluator, and practitioner of science.

Basic mathematical reasoning


Having a sense of scale
Calculating estimates

Making measurements
Measuring uncertainty
Using proxies
Doing statistical analysis
Finding Relationships
Visualizing data
Interpreting graphs

Asking a scientific question


Designing experiments
Using models
Communicating information
Understanding scientific progress
Arguing from evidence
Recognizing pseudoscience

Student Learning Outcomes


- Students will hone their Science Sense during this course, specifically:
o Students will acquire a proper sense of scale and be able to make order of magnitude
estimates with reasonable assumptions.
o Students will understand and get experience with measurement and data collection through
activities in the field (including a BioBlitz common event) and be able to create and
communicate their results using graphs and basic statistics.
o Students will become familiar with experimental design and the practice of scientific inquiry.
o Students will understand that science makes progress and changes through time based upon
newly available evidence.
- Students will practice their critical thinking skills and employ reasonable skepticism.
- Students will learn how to communicate science to different audiences through two projects.
- Students will leave this course with an appreciation for the similar set of skills employed by scientists
in seemingly disparate fields of scientific inquiry.
- Students will recognize that these skills are applicable both to their coursework and their daily lives.
Course Structure
Science Forward consists of three units built on the idea of grand challenges at different levels of scale
(Environment, Society, Individual). These topics will serve as the context in which we will practice our
Science Sense. This course requires students to read/watch the required science content outside of the
classroom and to be prepared to use that content during discussions and activities inside the classroom.
We will have a required data collection event (the BioBlitz a 24-hour species diversity survey) at the
start of the semester. Student groups will use those data to complete a research project that will be
presented as a scientific poster a conference at the end of the semester.

Kelly L. ODonnell, Lisa A. Brundage, and Joseph Ugoretz 2015

http://cuny.is/scienceforward

Science Forward Video Series Description


The Science Forward Video Series currently consists of 14 professionally produced videos that serve as
base content for a Science Forward course. These videos cover a wide range of topics in both the life and
physical sciences, as well as topics in the philosophy of science. The videos were designed to be flexible
for use with a variety of student populations. Each video comes with lesson and activity suggestions. All
videos are open-access with written transcripts and closed captioning available.
The Science Forward Video Series includes the following videos:
Animal Communication
Scientific Uncertainty
Artificial Intelligence
The Challenge of Food
Astronomy
The Science Senses
Climate Change
Tools of Seeing: Microscopes to Telescopes
Drug Development and Discovery
Urban Ecology
Evolution
Water
Geology
What is Science?
Our videos feature scientists both at work and discussing the important skills they use to be successful in
science. We draw heavily from the incredibly rich pool of CUNY faculty. Our featured scientists include:

Regina Alvarez, Queensborough CC, CUNY


Alan Benimoff, CSI, CUNY
Chanda Bennett, WCS New York Aquarium
Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe, Medgar Evers
College, CUNY
Karin Block, CCNY, CUNY
Brett Branco, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Laura Broughton, Bronx CC, CUNY
(Merry) Yue Cai, Columbia University
John J. Dennehy, Queens College, CUNY
Brahmadeo Dewprashad, BMCC, CUNY
Susan Epstein, Hunter College, CUNY
Allan Frei, Hunter College, CUNY
Justin Garson, Hunter College, CUNY
Juliette Gorson, Hunter College, CUNY
Elodie Ghedin, NYU
David Gruber, Baruch College, CUNY
Mand Holford, Hunter College, CUNY
Laura Juszczak, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Athanasios Koutavas, CSI, CUNY
William LAmoreaux, CSI, CUNY
Tammy Lewis, Brooklyn College, CUNY
Charles Liu, CSI, CUNY
Sean McKenzie, The Rockefeller University

Marion Nestle, NYU


Mary Pearl, Macaulay Honors College,
CUNY
Massimo Pigliucci, CCNY, CUNY
Diana Reiss, Hunter College, CUNY
Emily Rice, CSI, CUNY
Irving Robbins, CSI CUNY
Andrew Rosenberg, Queens College, CUNY
Bernice Rosenzweig, CUNY ASRC
Cynthia Rosenzweig, NASA GISS
Caleb Scharf, Columbia University
Judith Spitz, Verizon
Bon Sy, Queens College, CUNY
Suzanne Tamang, Stanford University,
CUNY alumna and former ITF
Derek Tan, Memorial Sloan Kettering
Cancer Center
Ofer Tchernichovski, Hunter College,
CUNY
Manuela Veloso, Carnegie Mellon University
Mark Weckel, American Museum of Natural
History and CUNY alumnus
Eleanore Wurtzel, Lehman College, CUNY

Kelly L. ODonnell, Lisa A. Brundage, and Joseph Ugoretz 2015

http://cuny.is/scienceforward