Factory to Faucet: Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry

Course Description

Have you ever wondered what happens to the fish after an oil spill? Or maybe you’ve heard stories on the news about pollution and wondered how it got to where it is? In today’s world, understanding pollution’s impact on the environment is important for keeping both human and animal communities healthy. Environmental contaminants from the world’s past and present industries can have important effects on humans and animals that are challenging to understand and solve. In this class, we’re going to talk about how pollutants move through the environment, what sort of impact they have on different animals, and what that means for us humans.

Using real-world examples and case studies, we will go over how pollution gets into the environment and how it moves once it’s out there. We’ll then talk about the ways environmental contaminants affect habitats and the creatures within them from the cellular to population level and what that means for an impacted site or ecosystem. Finally, we connect these environmental studies to human communities and discuss how people can be impacted, directly and indirectly, by pollution out in the world.

Environmental toxicology research requires synthesizing information from multiple disciplines, and in this course you will see how all of this information needs to come together to solve today’s environmental problems. This class will combine virtual labs, scientific literature, lectures, and optional live sessions on specific case studies and research topics. In addition to a variety of examples for each section, oil spills will be used as a unifying example to show how each scientific piece of the puzzle fits together. By exploring these topics, you will gain an understanding of how pollution impacts animals in the environment, how researchers approach environmental problems, and how to think critically about complex scientific problems. This course will offer a multi-disciplinary approach to environmental toxicology that will teach you about pollution’s impact as well as how to engage with scientific ideas in a more comprehensive way.

By the end of the course, you will:
• Describe how pollution can impact animals at the individual and population level
• Understand how to approach environmental problems by synthesizing information across very different scientific disciplines
• Know how pollution moves and changes in the environment
• Understand how pollution causes biological impacts from the level of cells up to habitats
• Have the skills to understand scientific research and methods as well as communicate them to different audiences


Completion of high school biology and chemistry is highly recommended.


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: July 11, 2022 - July 22, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: Online - Mostly Asynchronous
Status: Closed
Format: Online
Instructor(s): April Rodd
Course Number: 10238