“An Interdisciplinary Approach to Science”
Hundreds of UMBC undergraduates are fulfilling their laboratory science requirement by getting their feet wet. They are enrolling in Water: An Interdisciplinary Study, a hands-on lab and lecture course that uses the theme of water to explore the process of science. The course, created by Karin Readel, a lecturer in UMBC’s interdisciplinary science program, allows students to work together in small groups to design experiments and analyze results, using the campus as an outdoor ecological laboratory. Student projects have included water analysis of the library pond, the Pig Pen Pond, and the Herbert Run stream on campus, and the course brings together the fields of biology, chemistry, earth sciences, and physics to focus on real-world investigations of water.
The course, which Readel designed for non-science majors (meeting the State of Maryland’s requirement that all students complete a laboratory science course) is proving wildly popular, with more than 400 students signing up each year to get their sneakers soaked.