ESA21 Environmental Science Activities for the 21st Century

Study Skills
Are You Ready?
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Common High School Experience
•Taken up, sometimes graded
•Significant portion of grade based on homework
•Multiple choice, fill-in-blanks, matching, true/false
•Study guide almost an exact replicate of test
•Bonus points given for showing up/simple assignments
•Added points (incorrectly called curve) given to skew average
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Traditional College Experience
•Assigned, but rarely taken up or graded
•Little to no part of the grade relies directly on it, but if you do not
do it, you will have trouble on tests
•Multiple choice and true/false in large classes, essay in small
•Study guide tells you content that is covered, but does not have any
test questions or such
•Bonus points rare, usually requires major project
•If grades are curved, it is a true curve and the average is a C
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•Scores forced to fit a Gaussian curve
•Grade assigned based on number of standard deviations
away from the mean
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Current College Experience
• Mixture between these two scenarios
• Sciences tend to lean more toward the
traditional college experience
• Which would you prefer?
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Skills Set Needed to Succeed
• A great deal of advice out there on how to
study for college
• Most comprehensive list of study skills
have a common set of messages
• A few seek to take the easy route, while
most do not
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Science Skills
• Science requires many skills that are not
mentioned on these lists
• Science is very quantitative, which means
that math skills are very important
• Science includes experimentation, which
requires a completely different skill base
from other disciplines
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Fermi Problems
• Named after Enrico Fermi, one of the
greatest physicists of the 20th Century
• Seemingly unsolvable problems due to a
lack of information
• Require one to estimate information and
rely on errors canceling to give good
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• How many piano tuners are in the Chicago
• How much time is spent aimlessly browsing
on the Internet in a year by people in the
• How much money is required to actually
educate an undergraduate?
• How many pounds of chicken wings are
consumed each day in the world?
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Use in Science
• Great way to check answers to see if correct
• Without an operating theory, allows one to
investigate which parameters are important
to situation
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