Science for Citizens

Course Description

Science for Citizens is designed for students who are interested in or curious about seeing their everyday world through a new lens. There will be several local scientific inquiries to complete that put you in the role of a citizen scientist! Science is all around us and you participate in it more than you think. Here is an opportunity to challenge yourself to take part in learning science in the most elemental way. We expect that you will find science exciting, fetching, curious, baffling, and rewarding. Bring your curiosity and more importantly positive energy to involve yourself in science.

Course Learning Goals

After completing this course, you will be able to:




Course Competencies

In this course, you will develop the following competencies:


Competence Statement and Criteria


Can describe, categorize, and analyze the interactions and exchanges between living organisms and their physical environments.


Can explore natural phenomena or the world of everyday experiences using scientific methods, and can use theories to interpret observations.


Can explain and evaluate the nature and process of science.

Note: If you are registered for CCS 153, the competence you will gain in this class is as follows:

Course Resources

There is no required textbook for this course, however you will need to purchase a soil testing kit. Please be sure to visit: for the: Soil Test Kit: Luster Leaf 1601 Rapitest Soil Test Kit.

Required Reading:

All readings are embedded within the D2L course and are mainly links to various websites.

Course Grading Scale

A = 95 to 100

A- = 91 to 94

B+ = 88 to 90

B = 85 to 87

B- = 81 to 84

C+ = 77 to 80

C = 73 to 76

C- = 69 to 72

D+ = 65 to 68

D = 61 to 64

F = 60 or below


Grades lower than a C- do not earn credit at the School for Continuing and Professional Studies.

Course Structure

This course consists of 5 modules. For December Intersession, the estimated time to complete each module is four days. For regular quarters, the estimated time to complete each module is one week.

The following table outlines the course:

  Module # and Title



Module 1: Introduction and Project Squirrel

Project Squirrel Website

1.1 Introductions Discussion

1.2: Why Urban Squirrels Discussion

1.3 Grey vs. Red Discussion

1.4 Squirrel Observation

1.5 Hypothesizing about Squirrels (S1A Only)

1.6 Squirrel GUDs (S2D Only)

Module 2: Urban Birds

Celebrate Urban Birds Website

2.1: Discussion: Baby Pigeons?

2.2: Discussion: Observe Local Birds

2.3: Bird-Brained Presentation

2.4: Know Your Birds Quiz

Module 3; Physical Properties of Soil

Web Readings:

Physical Properties of Soil

Soil Physical Properties

The Soil Environment

USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service

USDA NRCS Soil Health

3.1 What is Soil? Discussion

3.2 Soil Jar Test

3.3 Soils in Your Community

Module 4; Water Quality

Web Readings:

U.S. Geological Survey Water

Natural Resources Defense Council

4.1 Water Quality Discussion

4.2 Community Water Quality Activity

Module 5; Competence Project

Independent research

5.1 Report on Your Project Discussion

5.2 Competence Project

To see specific course due dates, click on the Calendar on the course home page.

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Assessment of Learning

Percentage distribution of Assessments

Grading Category:

% of Final Grade:







Competence Paper


Grading Policies and Practices

To complete the course, you must complete each of the assignments as described in the course and submit them to your instructor by the assigned deadline.  In addition, you must participate in the course discussion forum by responding to all instructor requests and by interacting with fellow classmates as necessary.

Points are deducted for late work.

General Assessment Criteria for All Writing Assignments

All writing assignments are expected to conform to basic college-level standards of mechanics and presentation.

Consider visiting the Writing Center to discuss your assignments for this course or any others. You may schedule appointments (30 or 50 minutes) on an as–needed or weekly basis, scheduling up to 3 hours worth of appointments per week. Online services include Feedback–by–Email and IM conferencing (with or without a webcam). All writing center services are free.

Writing Center tutors are specially selected and trained graduate and undergraduate students who can help you at almost any stage of your writing. They will not do your work for you, but they can help you focus and develop your ideas, review your drafts, and polish your writing. They can answer questions about grammar, mechanics, different kinds of writing styles, and documentation formats. They also can answer questions and provide feedback online, through IM/webcam chats and email.

Obviously, the tutors won’t necessarily be familiar with every class or subject, but they are able to provide valuable help from the perspective of an interested and careful reader as well as a serious and experienced student-writer.

Schedule your appointments with enough time to think about and use the feedback you’ll receive. To schedule a Face-to-Face, Written Feedback by Email, or Online Appointment, visit

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Discussion Forums

Discussion Forums are an important component of your online experience. This course contains discussion forums related to the topics you are studying each week. For requirements on your participation in the Discussion Forums, please see “Course Expectations” in the syllabus.

A Course Q & A discussion forum has also been established to manage necessary, ongoing social and administrative activities. This is where the management and administrative tasks of the course are conducted, and where you can ask ‘process’ questions and receive answers throughout the course. Please feel free to answer any question if you feel you know the answer; this sharing of information is valuable to other students.

College and University Policies

This course includes and adheres to the college and university policies described in the links below:

Academic Integrity Policy (UGRAD)

Academic Integrity Policy (GRAD)

Incomplete Policy

Course Withdrawal Timelines and Grade/Fee Consequences

Accommodations Based on the Impact of a Disability

Protection of Human Research Participants

APA citation format (GRAD)

Additional Course Resources

University Center for Writing-based Learning

SNL Writing Guide

Dean of Students Office

Changes to Syllabus

This syllabus is subject to change as necessary. If a change occurs, it will be clearly communicated to students.


This course was designed and produced by faculty and staff at SCPS of the School for Continuing and Professional Studies of DePaul University.

© 2017 School for Continuing and Professional Studies, DePaul University. All Rights Reserved by SCPS.