PEX Science & Technology

GenEd Science & Technology courses present scientific process in context, helping students understand how scientific phenomena and/or technological change affects human life and the planet.

Science & Technology courses are intended to teach students how to:

  • Understand and describe the scientific process;
  • Understand the sequential nature of science and technology;
  • Recognize, use and appreciate scientific or technological thinking for solving problems that are part of everyday life;
  • Understand and communicate how technology encourages the process of discovery in science and related disciplines; and
  • Retrieve, organize, and analyze data associated with a scientific or technological model.


Evolution and Extinctions

Did an asteroid impact wipe out the dinosaurs? Can “natural” Earth-based processes also cause mass extinctions? Long before the dinosaurs, another mass extinction destroyed 90 percent of life on Earth, without an impact. Should we be less worried about rocks from space, and more about “down to Earth” phenomena such as climate change, volcanism, or disease? Basic geologic principles and the fundamentals of evolutionary thought combine to bring to life the 4.6 billion year story of our planet and its creatures. Through hands-on experience with fossils and rocks, students investigate changes in life through time, and discover how to decipher past environments from the geologic record.

Sustainable Design

What’s the big deal about global warming and how should we respond to it? Explore the issues and underlying causes. See how contemporary designers from Germany, Netherlands, UK and Japan are responding to scientific knowledge with sustainable designs for buildings, cars, towns and parks. Develop your own creative project to reduce the greenhouse effect. Have you ever wondered about what happens to local abandoned factories and degraded streams and rivers? Philadelphia is a national hotbed for sustainable design. Visit local restoration sites, modern “green” buildings, parks that reclaim waste water and transformed industrial parks to see firsthand what is happening in our area. Learn how design is transforming to propel us toward a low waste, energy conserving society in the 21st century.

Sustainable Environments

Americans account for over a quarter of all fossil fuel consumption, own more cars than there are licensed drivers, and build new homes 40 percent larger than they did in 1975, despite shrinking household size. We feel for the pandas and polar bears, while contributing mightily to global climate change, resource inequity, and ecosystem destruction. How do we reckon with environmental crises at multiple scales, from the neighborhood to the atmosphere and oceans? “Think globally, act locally” environmentalists admonish us! Direct our vast human ingenuity and collective spirit toward technologies and behaviors that bring peace with the planet. Course mission: enhance your capability to make informed choices, based on a sound understanding of the ecological, technological, economic, political, and ethical dimensions of environmental sustainability.