Biozone's Environmental Science is an outstanding teaching tool designed to support any environmental science program. It is broken into the content areas of (1) The Earth's Systems, (2) Ecosystems, (3) Populations, (4) Investigating Ecosystems, (5) Land, Water, and Energy, and (6) Pollution and Global Change. The workbook is divided into chapters, starting with the learning objectives and moving into a series of written activities, such as data-handling exercises. There are also Web links that take the students to external resources about each of the major topics covered in the workbook. The workbook focuses mostly on how humans affect the environment. There are activities pertaining to survivorship curves, transect sampling, global human nutrition, and soil degradation. They can be used in the order they appear in the book, or in any way that supports the curriculum.
In addition, there is a DVD-ROM that contains presentation media to accompany the chapters in the workbook. These presentations are available in a variety of formats, including PowerPoint, Keynote, PDF, Quicktime, and even an HTML version. When the DVD-ROM is placed into the drive, it is necessary to select the folder of the format desired. Once there, the folder opens and the presentations are divided by chapters, as in the workbook. Double-clicking on the icon opens the presentation.
The presentation is informative and colorful. The slides provide a plethora of information about the various topics and also show many pictures and graphs to support the main ideas. For example, in the chapter devoted to populations, there is a discussion of population density and how it influences community structure. Definitions of important vocabulary words are provided, and the slides show examples of what low and high population density look like. This is followed by a discussion of how these densities are distributed. Having the visuals strongly enhances the material and will help the student to better understand the concepts.
The materials on the DVD-ROM can be copied to the hard drive of a computer so that they can be modified to best suit the needs of the user. Biozone has very particular copyright restrictions on these materials, and extra caution must be taken to ensure that they are followed. Once the workbook unit is purchased, the presentation files may be put on any computer within the school, and they may also be printed out in handout form so that the students can take their own notes during a lecture.
Biozone's Environmental Science would be a great asset to any ecology or environmental science course. While the primary focus of the workbook and media is secondary school, the presentations can be downloaded and modified, so these materials would be appropriate for any grade level. Environmental Science is part of Biozone's larger Modular Workbook Series, which contains units on ecology, evolution, microbiology and technology, and health and disease, among others. If the other modules in the Biozone series are as well thought out and useful as this one, all instructors, regardless of age level, should consider purchasing them. Biozone has really hit the mark with this one.
JEFFREY SACK has taught all aspects of high school biology in both public and private schools for the past 12 years. His scientific interests include marine ecology and bird behavior, and his educational interests include the relationship between scientific content knowledge and pedagogy and the uses of instructional technology in the classroom. He holds degrees in Biology from the University of Rhode Island and Central Connecticut State University and a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Central Connecticut State University.