NSC306K: Chemistry and Geology: Students learn that electrostatic potential energy is what holds our world together utilizing the small particle model of matter. They learn that elements, molecules and atoms are what make up our universe. We discuss the Periodic Table and show how chemical bonds have the potential to store chemical energy. In geology, we introduce the concepts of buoyancy and heat transfer mechanisms of convection and conduction. We then use these concepts to understand how these forces result in the movements of Earth's crustal plates producing earthquakes, volcanoes and Earth's surface topography. We finish with the concepts of the rock cycle and geologic time.
NSC306L: Biological Systems:The themes of matter and energy are integrated into the major course topics of radiant energy, energy transfer in living things, characteristics of living things, compartments, inheritance, and variation.
NSC306M: Astronomy and Earth Climate: Building upon the inquiry-based methodology and content of previous Hands-on-Science courses (NSC 306J and NSC 306K are prerequisites), we will tackle the fields of astronomy and Earth science this semester. In this semester, we study several topics, including phenomena on Earth and beyond – how distant objects interact and how we perceive them. We consider light and how it behaves, as well as gravity. We also address the appearance of things in the sky—size and scale of objects in the universe and how their distance affects how we see them, the movement of the Sun and stars in the sky, and our perception of Moon phases. Closer to home, we talk about our own observations of patterns such as the changing seasons, and differences between weather and climate.