This project was prepared as part of a BioQUEST faculty development workshop entitled Investigating Interdisciplinary Interactions: The Annual BioQUEST Summer Workshop at Beloit College in June 2005. The BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium is committed to the reform of undergraduate biology instruction through an emphasis on engaging students in realistic scientific practices. This approach is sometimes characterized as an inquiry driven approach and is captured in BioQUEST's three P's (problem-posing, problem-solving, and peer-persuasion). As part of this workshop groups of faculty were encouraged to initiate innovative curricular projects. We are sharing these works in progress in the hope that they will stimulate further exploration, collaboration and development. Please see the following links for additional information:

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Water - A Coordinated Study Learning Community
Authors          Audiences          Overview           Materials          Resources           Future Directions



Sharon Anthony
The Evergreen State College

Robert Cole
The Evergreen State College


Possible Audiences:

Folks interested in learning communities dealing with water as a theme. We describe a sophomore level program.  


Brief Overview:

In this full-time coordinated study program we will investigate the water cycle in the Pacific Northwest. Our investigations will be guided by two questions: Where does the water come from? Where does it go? We will examine the sources of surface and groundwater, from precipitation and snowmelt and their flows through river systems, lakes and wetlands. The use and abuse of water by humans will be covered, including topics such as water diversion and impoundment, river channel alteration, wetland drainage, storm-runoff management, physical and chemical pollution, and drinking water protection and purification. In the process, we will study stream and wetland ecology, as well as the anadromous fish runs in the Pacific Northwest. We will learn laboratory analytical techniques for measuring concentrations of nutrients and pollutants in water, and we will make weekly field measurements at various sites. A variety of current issues surrounding water quality and existing policies and future policy options will be explored. We will read several literary works regarding water in the Pacific Northwest ecosystem and in its cultural landscape. Students will study hydrological cycles; fluid dynamics; riparian, lake and wetland ecology; quantitative modeling of pollutant flows and cycles; analytical chemistry techniques; the history and policy of water usage in the Pacific Northwest; and field measurement and analysis techniques, including statistical analysis.  


Project Materials:

Nothing out of the ordinary  


Resources and References:

Sharon Anthony Robert Cole National Learning Communities Project:  


Future Directions:

Revision and augmentation of this coordinated study for future-year offerings.