Text Box: Newsletter of the Physical Sciences at Solano Community College

Two New Geography Learning Community Classes

Michael Wyly and Danielle Widemann will be offering a Learning Communities course in Spring ‘07 entitled: “English 2 and Geology 1: Earth Voices, the Earth and Our Human Experience.”

How do humans define their roles in contrast to environmental considerations? Robinson Jeffers’s poetry explores the human animal as an element of the natural world. In so doing, he puts in perspective our lifetime with processes of geologic time.

Gretel Ehrlich humanizes the experience of losing our cold climate areas of the world. Edward Abbey’s Desert Solitaire explores what exists and what has been lost in the North American desert. Our theme will include the human impacts on the Earth as far as mining, resources, water control, global warming, and other related topics.

Josh Stein and Danielle Widemann are also in the process of creating a Learning Communities course for Fall ‘07 tentatively titled: “English 1 and Geography 1: Mother Nature in the Left Corner, Humans in the Right Corner, Where will we go from here?”

The course’s main focus will be content from the Physical Geography course with the English Composition course’s topics drawn from the students’ studies in the science class. The idea is to show students that scientific inquiry and the argument process have much more in common than is usually understood.

The wider goal is to give students insight into the application of their writing in a field other than English. In addition, the students will develop a deeper learning of the science through the process of writing and making arguments about physical geography.

In the Control of Nature by John McPhee, he writes about the Mississippi River and man’s attempts to control and prevent the natural processes of the river. In Geography and Geology, we learn about river systems and consider the pros and cons of controlling rivers via extensive levee systems, channelization and dams. In McPhee’s book, Encounters with the Archdruid, we will read the dialogue between David Brower (Sierra Club) and Charles Parks (Mining Geologist) while they debate the issues of open pit mining while they hike through Plummer Mountain.

In Earth Science courses, students learn basic concepts without the in-depth connection to their everyday life, the choices they make, the history of these choices, and how they will affect and determine the human condition. Literary selections will therefore focus on giving a face and a voice via the integration of the human experience.

-Article by Josh Stein, Danielle Widemann, and Michael Wyly