2002 Denver Annual Meeting (October 27-30, 2002)

Paper No. 7
Presentation Time: 3:00 PM


SINGLER, Charles R., Dept of Geological and Environmental Sciences, Youngstown State Univ, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555 and USIS, John D., Dept of Biological Sciences, Youngstown State Univ, One University Plaza, Youngstown, OH 44555, crsingler@ysu.edu

Facing a new general education model requiring laboratory science with limited faculty and available space, the natural science departments at Youngstown State University devised a modular approach of teaching inquiry-based, multidisciplinary science to non-science majors. A 15-week term was divided into three 5-week segments and assigned to three science departments.

The Geology Department determined that students were to learn the scientific method and the science of geology through field studies, problem-solving, conducting experiments, and participating in faculty research. This report focuses on radon research and engaging students in radon studies to fulfill the science requirement.

The Biological Sciences Department similarly engaged students in fermentation/enology studies.

As research, the Radon Project was an effort to determine, primarily, the levels of radon concentrations in homes and schools in a 20-county area in northeast Ohio, and secondarily, the correlations to the geology of the area. More than 1300 detectors were placed according to EPA and other quality control standards. Geologic studies included examination of records from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.

For students in the science class, the radon project involved several steps, including: a) review of the fundamentals of radon and geology b) review of the investigation protocols, and setting up procedures and timetables c) conducting the investigation; each student receives a radon kit and sampling instructions d) gathering, organizing, and analyzing data; students are given additional data, and geographic and geologic maps e) each student writing a final report using figures and tables.