top of page


Projects in Science
globe rotating.gif

32 Week
2 Semesters


Let's Get Down to Business
00:00 / 01:32

One LIVE Class / Week
Tuesday 10:55 - 11:25 am
Thursday 3:30 - 4:30 pm

Create a Class (click here)
Eastern Time

Course Requirements

  1. Enrollment Agreement (Parent Survey) as part of Registration / Enrollment (click here).

  2. Free Zoom account with audio / video capability for classes.

  3. Tablet with stylus for writing is highly recommended (e.g. Wacom).

  4. MAC users get compatible software (Word, Powerpoint, Excel), if possible.


Class Information

  1. Students will spend 8-10 hours per week for this course.

  2. Projects and reports.


32 Week Course ... 2 Semesters




Lab Supplies Needed

  • Household Items


Course Description


Projects in Science is a non-traditional approach to real life issues. It is an Environmental Science course.

Projects in Science will use science content to tackle difficult and controversial world issues in a sober, academic, and discussion-oriented way.

Motion pictures, movies, documentaries are viewed throughout the course. Students complete a film review for each multi-media presentation.


Note: Students will be expected to accomplish academic requirements and participate in all units.

Note:  Any student at any level can enroll, but must be able to do written and oral reports.

Topics and Objectives:

  • Wild Edibles, Poison Plants & Trees (7 weeks)

    • What's in your backyard?

    • Identify Wild Edible Plants

      • Wild Edibles Cookbook

    • Field Guide Worksheets

    • Field Activities

    • Identify Poisonous & Invasive Plants

    • Identify Trees Using Dichotomous Key

      • Create a Tree & Poisonous Plant Scrapbook 

  • Compass Orienteering (2 weeks)

    • Identify Cardinal and intercardinal directions.

    • Comprehend the components of a field compass.

    • Recognize types of field bearings.

    • Walk a bearing or find directions using the triangle or square methods.

    • Learn the components of and how to make a simple map.

      • Finding field bearings and distances (compass work)

      • Starting the map

      • Drawing the map

      • Protractor use.

    • Understand the concept of a contour (topographical) map and be able to draw one or decipher one.

  • Wild Life Management (2 weeks)

    • Discuss pros and cons of hunting and trapping.

    • Understand the history and usefulness of hunting and trapping.

    • Identify the ethics of hunting and trapping.

    • Recognize types of hunting and trapping and the equipment involved in trapping.

    • Understand basics of the sport of fishing

      • Bait

      • How to catch a fish

      • Casting techniques

    • Determine the estimated sample of fish in a region using sampling techniques.

    • Explain various knot tying strategies.

    • Observe examples of fishing expeditions.

    • Monitoring Wolves in Michigan

  • Food & Food Additives​​ (2 weeks)

    • Identify food types (organic, natural, processed).

    • Recognize types of food additives (natural, intentional, incidental).

    • Understand the establishment of safety standards (GRAS, Delaney, FDA).

    • Discuss FDA standards of identity, quality and fill.

    • Explain food labels (nutritional information) and compare foods.

    • Discuss/research dietary options (vegan, vegetarian, diet plans).

  • Influence of Media (3 weeks)

    • Understand the influence of media on our lives

      • Fast food mentality

      • Alien invasion

      • Deceit

      • Advertisement (e.g., cigarettes, cars, clothing, etc.)

      • Violence & vengeance

      • Winning at all costs

      • Sex is cheap and defiled

      • Ends justify the means

    • Recognize the signs of media addiction

      • What are the effects of media addiction?

      • How does media influence us?

    • Identify ways to overcome media addiction

    • Recognize that Media is often used as the Babysitter.

    • Scientifically analyze some samples of media … truth versus fiction.

    • Evaluate bias in movies "Based on Real Life" or "Inspired by true events"

  • Science & Data (1 week)

    • Understand the importance of proper scientific process.

    • Contrast with the science of fake news.

    • Define fake news and explain ways to deal with it.

    • Recognize a scientific approach to Bible study.

    • Analyze scripture to evaluate the Nativity Scene as an example of proper scientific process, contrasting Bible understanding with public opinion.

  • Creation / Evolution (1 week)

    • Establish the best way to deal with a potentially controversial and contentious issue.

    • Identify and dismantle misconceptions related to creation / evolution.

    • Learn and practice the appropriate questions to ask in a discussion of creation / evolution.

    • Understand the fossil record, its place in earth’s history, and the use of radioactive dating.

  • Deviations in the Name of Science (1 week)

    • Consider why people feel they have reproductive rights and bodily autonomy.

    • Contrast with a Biblical view of life originating with God, the Creator.

    • Emphasize the steps of true listening in order to speak the truth in love especially to those who deny, diminish or oppose God’s authority.

    • Analyze reproductive rights, homosexuality, and transgender issues (cross dressing, transvestite, changing gender) and compare to scripture.

    • Reflect upon and understand why viewpoints can deviate so far from scripture.

  • Energy Overview (1 week)

    • Distinguish between renewable and non-renewable energy resources.

    • Identify and explain major renewable and non-renewable resources.

    • Understand how much energy is derived from various resources.

    • Calculate the cost of energy.

    • Recognize ways to conserve energy.

    • Read an electric meter in your home.

  • Nuclear Energy (1 week)

    • Distinguish between Chemistry and Physics in relation to the atom.

    • Define radioactivity, identifying the types of radiation and particles involved.

    • Understand how much energy is derived from nuclear reactions.

    • Distinguish nuclear fission and nuclear fusion. What isotopes are involved. Draw the nuclear symbols of these isotopes.

    • Recognize how electrical energy is produced by various nuclear reactors (identify types of reactors and the components of each).

    • Explain potential hazards and disadvantages of nuclear power production.

    • Identify scientists and their contribution to nuclear energy.

  • Hydropower (1 week)

    • Gain a general knowledge of energy, energy resources, and energy conservation.

    • Understand and define the terminology associated with hydropower and electrical production.

    • Draw and label the water cycle.

    • Understand the source, advantages and disadvantages of hydropower as a renewable resource.

    • Draw and label components of a hydroelectric power plant (dam) whether large scale or small scale.

    • Explain practical application of hydropower especially related to electrical production and usage.

  • Alternative Energy Resources (1 week)

    • Gain a general knowledge of alternative energy resources and energy conservation.

    • Understand and define the terminology associated with wind, solar, and other alternative energy resources related to electrical production.

    • Understand fracking and its potential as an alternative energy resource.

    • Research “green” energy resources to compare with traditional resources (fossil fuels, hydropower, and nuclear energy).

  • Electricity & Energy Summary & Electric Cars (1 week)

    • Explain basic components of electricity (electrons, circuits, conductors, insulators, magnetic induction).

    • Identify and define components of electrical power plants (Magnetic induction, turbine, generator, alternating/direct current, step up/step down transformation).

    • Summarize energy resources (sources of energy, types of renewable and non-renewable energy sources, energy units, cost, usage/consumption, production).

  • Weather (2 weeks)

    • Classify the composition of Earth’s atmosphere (gases, layers)?

    • Describe the major factors affecting weather?

    • List the major components of the hydrologic cycle.

    • Explain the various phases of water related to energy interactions.

    • Understand relative humidity & dew point related to temperature.

    • Define cloud formation and name & define the major types of clouds.

    • Explain how wind forms and factors that affect wind.

    • List and define factors that affect wind. (Latitude, Frictional Forces, Coriolis Effect, Specific Heat of land versus water).

    • What happens to air as it rises or sinks? (Describe wind patterns that exist around the globe.)

    • Explain Pressure Centers (Low vs. High).

    • Name & define Earth’s major air masses.

    • Understand & describe the four major weather fronts.

    • Define & describe thunderstorms (severe weather).

  • Earth History & Climate (2 weeks)

Earth’s History

1.   Understand and frame Geologic time & the geologic time scale.

2.   Explain how geologic time was derived and potential problems with the time scale.

3.   Define radioactive dating and elements that contribute to it (index fossils, marker beds)

4.   Explain variables involved with relative dating.

5.   Distinguish relative dating from absolute dating.

6.   List some radioactive dating “clocks”.


Factors Affecting Climate

1.   Understand 5 major factors that influence global climate.

2.   Explain the relationship between Carbon Dioxide levels in the atmosphere, and global temperature.

3.   Describe how ocean currents and global wind patterns are created?

4.   Explain thermohaline circulation.

5.   Define El Niño. How do it affect climate. (optional)

6.   Understand the difference between a maritime and a continental climate.

7.   Define and expound global warming.

8.   List the most significant greenhouse gases.

9.   Distinguish between a “good” & “bad” greenhouse gas.

10. Define the major function of ozone. Explain negative issues related to ozone.

  • Ice Age Theory & Climate Change (1 week)

1.   Describe the Pleistocene extinction and possible causes.

2.   Define what ice ages are and distinguish glacial and interglacial periods throughout Earth’s history.

3.   Explain Milankovitch’s ice age theory components.

4.   Define paleoclimatology and explain how scientists monitor Earth’s climate throughout history.

5.   Describe glaciers and glaciation, giving the types of glaciers and how glaciers are formed.

6.   Understand how glaciers are identified using topographic maps.

7.   Explain the formation of the Great Lakes.

8.   Describe isostatic rebound.

9.   Practical apply paleoclimatology in reading various graphs about ice age.

  • Water Quality (2 weeks)

    • What is water’s composition?  

    • What is water’s chemical formula?

    • What is polarity in terms of molecules like water?

    • What kinds of molecules can water dissolve?

    • Why does water have so many special properties?  

    • What is hydrogen bonding?

    • What kind of special properties does water exhibit?

    • What is the difference between “hard” and “soft” water?

    • Describe that the water cycle includes evaporation, transpiration, condensation, precipitation, infiltration, surface runoff, groundwater, and absorption.

    • Analyze the flow of water between the elements of a watershed, including surface features (lakes, streams, rivers, wetlands) and groundwater.

    • Describe the river and stream types, features, and process including cycles of flooding, erosion, and deposition as they occur naturally and as they are impacted by land use decisions.

    • Explain the types, process, and beneficial functions of wetlands.

    • Compare and contrast surface water systems (lakes, rivers, streams, wetlands) and groundwater in regard to their relative sizes as Earth’s freshwater reservoirs and the dynamics of water movement (inputs and outputs, residence times, sustainability).

    • Explain the features and processes of groundwater systems and how the sustainability of North American aquifers has changed in recent history (e.g., the past 100 years) qualitatively using the concepts of recharge, residence time, inputs, and outputs.

    • Explain how water quality in both groundwater and surface systems is impacted by land use decisions.

  • Elementary School Lesson (2 weeks)

    • Teach a science lesson to elementary school children in a local public school district.

    • Include motivation, background, vocabulary, science content, activities, bibliography

  • Astronomy (2 weeks)

    • Seasons

    • Earth, Moon, Sun

    • Flat Earth??

  • Solid Waste

    • Sewage Treatment - where does it go?​

    • Landfill - how many mountains are in your town?


Grade Weighting

10%    Homework 

 5%    Participation 

40%   Student Projects

40%   Assessments

  5%   Semester Exam 

Unit Assessments

Class Notes (PDF doc provided)

Homework (Worksheets)

Projects (Worksheet or Report)

Test (Multiple Choice; Problems)

Craig T. Riesen

CTR pic 9 2011.jpg


  • Biology

  • Chemistry

  • Physics

  • General Science 7-12

  • Basic Administation K-12

  • Online Instructor

30+ years Teaching Experience

  • Public Schools (26+yr)

  • Online (7+yr)

bottom of page