Integrated Natural Sciences

Fall 2020
Winter 2021
Spring 2021
Class Size: 75
25% Reserved for Freshmen
Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

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Taught by

biology, virology, molecular biology
Carri LeRoy
freshwater ecology, quantitative biology, environmental education
organic chemistry

Integrated Natural Sciences is an interdisciplinary program designed to combine the concepts and methods of general biology and general chemistry, providing a rigorous and intensive foundation in the natural sciences. Students will also learn how to apply statistics, lab methods and field research into their understanding of biology and chemistry. The program is intended for students who are interested in pursuing more advanced coursework in biology, chemistry, and environmental sciences.

The nature of living organisms will be examined on molecular, cellular, physiological, and ecological levels within the context of evolutionary history. Chemical topics of equilibria, thermodynamics, and kinetics will provide a framework to understand biological and ecological systems. Students will engage with these themes using an experimental approach to develop critical and quantitative reasoning skills. Students will consistently use science process and reasoning skills. They will participate in hands-on field and laboratory experiences to improve their problem-solving abilities directed at understanding natural phenomena. Scientific concepts will build over the entire year, so it is in your best interest to enroll in the program for all three quarters.

This program is intended to provide a foundation for future studies in the natural sciences and it is designed for students who take their learning seriously. Program standards and faculty expectations for learning will be high and the workload will be rigorous. Weekly program activities will include lectures, small-group problem-solving workshops, as well as laboratory work, computer labs, and field experiences. Students can expect to do two to three labs each week, maintain lab notebooks, and write formal lab reports. Assessment of learning will occur through many methods such as in-class and take-home exams, quizzes, homework assignments, reports, and projects.

INS fall quarter will integrate topics of biology and chemistry through the study of evolution and ecology. We will first address genetics and inheritance as a framework for applying genetic diversity to evolutionary processes. We will continue to examine evolutionary processes on a macro level through ecology. In INS winter quarter, we will focus on both the molecular and organismal levels of biology. Molecular structure and properties will enhance our understanding of biological function. Students will study biomolecules, the structure and function of DNA and proteins, and how these molecules are integrated into systems. Chemical concepts of kinetics and equilibria will enhance these studies. We will then apply these concepts to animal form and function, reproduction, and physiology. In INS spring quarter, we will continue to integrate biology and chemistry and focus on hands-on experiences while studying organismal biology and the diversity of life on Earth. We will also examine equilibria in greater depth and will continue to tie our studies to thermodynamics. We expect students to end the program in spring with a working knowledge of scientific and quantitative concepts, the ability to reason critically, and with hands-on experiences in natural science. Students will also gain a strong appreciation of the interconnectedness of biological and chemical systems, and an ability to apply this knowledge to solving complex problems.

To successfully participate in this program, students will need a laptop/desktop with webcam (or phone with webcam - not recommended to use phone only), whiteboard/pens, textbooks, scientific calculator (e.g. TI-30Xa), scanner app to produce pdf files, access to canvas/internet, and Zoom. Students can expect our remote teaching to be around 40% synchronous (scheduled) work and 60% asynchronous (self-paced) work using Zoom, Canvas and YouTube. Our approach will emphasize participation in synchronous (live) sessions. The alternatives to synchronous participation in this program are met through pre-recorded videotaped lectures.

Greener Foundations (fall quarter only):  This program will incorporate Greener Foundations, a holistic course designed for first-time, first-year students. Faculty and staff collaborate to bring study skills, academic planning, health and wellness education, advising, and more into the classroom. More information can be found on the college website at Greener Foundations .

This offering will prepare you for careers and advanced study in:

Chemistry, biology, environmental science, ecology, and health sciences


Credits per quarter
Variable Credit Options Available

Variable Credit Options:

Variable Credit Options: Students are encouraged to take all 16 credits in this integrated program, but we will consider requests to refrain from General Biology (5 cr), General Chemistry (5 cr), Statistics I (4 cr), and either Applied Mathematics (2 cr) or Greener Foundations (2 cr; for this option contact ).

Fields of study: 

Students are expected to be proficient in mathematics at the Algebra II or Precalculus level.

Online learning:
  • Fall and Winter Complete Online Learning - This offering delivers all of its instruction online.
  • Spring: Hybrid Online Learning - This offering delivers 25 - 49% of its instruction online, rather than via face-to-face contact between you and your instructors.

$200 in spring quarter for an overnight field trip

Class Standing: Freshman–Senior
Class Size: 75
25% Reserved for Freshmen

Scheduled for: Day

Final schedule and room assignments:

First meeting:

Tuesday, January 5, 2021 - 9:00 am

Located in: Olympia

May be offered again in:

Fall-Spring 2021-2022

2020-11-02Mike Paros no longer teaching in this program Winter quarter
2020-09-11This program is now fully online for fall