ENV101: “THE ORIGINS OF LIFE”
New course! Offered: 2022 Term 1
Day and time: Wednesdays 6:00-7:30pm, beginning 16 February 2022.
Location: EarthDiverse, 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (see map below under Location tab), on-line via Zoom, or through video recordings of our live-streamed sessions posted 1-2 days after each class.
In this introductory science course, we’ll travel back in time and think about the birth of our planet and the pre-life chemical interactions that gave rise to life. We’ll then touch on basic concepts in biology and evolution. This course is suitable to high school students and older.
- Week 1: The Birth of Earth What are the fundamental chemical, geological, and physical principles that give us insight into the origins of earth?
- Week 2: What is Life? Using a historical approach, we look at the prominent scientists who contributed to our current knowledge about life, evolution and heredity. Through these scientists, we will look at the scientific perspectives on life: How do we define life and what are the three domains of life?
- Week 3: The Alphabet of life. We delve deeper into basic biological concepts. What are biomolecules? What is the role of nucleic acids (i.e. DNA, and RNA) in life and evolution.
- Week 4: Theories of Life & Astrobiology. What are the key scientific theories that explain how and when life started? We will also learn about Astrobiology, a branch of biology that studies how life may have an extraterrestrial origin.
- Week 5: The Great Oxygenation Event. Oxygen is one of the most vital elements on earth that supports life on earth and we will learn how The Great Oxygenation Event was the most significant moment in geological time that bloomed the diversity of life on earth!
- Week 6: The Amazing Cell. After learning about the beginning of life, now it’s time to think about the most fundamental unit of a living organism: the cell. We will explore the cell as the smallest unit that can live on its own.
- Week 7: Emergence of multicellularity. We’ll keep talking about cells, and how single cells came together to create more complex multicellular forms of life. We will also explore the pros and cons of being singe-celled or multicellular.
- Week 8: Evolution. What is evolution and how does it work? Evolution reflects the adaptations of organisms to their changing environments and can result in altered genes, novel traits, and new species.
Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.
Distance Learning: This course has distance-learning options for those unable to attend the live class sessions in Hamilton. Students have three options for attending our courses once they have registered:
- attend in-person classes in our Hamilton classrooms at the regularly scheduled day and time,
- attend our live on-line classroom sessions via Zoom at the regular scheduled day and time,
- watch the live-recorded class sessions at your leisure, at a time, day and place more suited to your schedule.
These options can be mixed and matched throughout the course to suit your own availability and location.
This course is taught by Jaber Abbaszadeh. Jaber came to New Zealand in 2019 to pursue his dreams as a PhD student at the University of Waikato. This move was influenced by his great passion for both nature and culture. His dream is to become an international academic researcher in Microbiology in a multicultural environment. Jaber has always been amazed by ancient cultures, some of which have stayed alive and vibrant throughout decades and centuries. He believes that the best way to connect diverse societies is through art, literature, science, and music which are inseparable aspects of all cultures! Jaber also teaches Farsi (Persian) for EarthDiverse.
In addition to our in-person classes in Hamilton, our courses offer distance learning options for those unable to attend classes in-person. Live-streamed Hamilton classes are available via free Zoom software for those living outside the Waikato. Live-streaming allows you to participate fully in your own learning, ask questions of the instructor and participate fully in the same way as if you were in the physical classroom.
Those unable to attend the scheduled date and time of the actual class sessions, or those who need to miss a class or two due to previous engagements or unexpected illness, can watch any or all of the live-recorded video sessions on their computers, laptops, tablets or mobile devices and study at their own pace and in their own time.
Detailed instructions on how to access our distance learning components will be sent after completing your registration. There are no additional fees for this service. However, distance learners will need access to a desktop or laptop computer with a good quality web-camera (tablet devices and mobile phones can also access our live-streamed classes), a built-in microphone (most modern laptops have built-in microphones) or a headset with a microphone. You will also need to download and install the free Zoom software on your computer or device. Those accessing the video recordings will be able to do so with a simple web browser on any device.
- Any Term can be taken independently of the others, and there are no prerequisites for any of the Term courses.
- This class has no assignments, required readings, quizzes, tests or exams.
- All classes encourage questions and group discussion.
- PDF copies of each class presentation, where appropriate, are emailed to all participants the next day so that you are free to focus on class content rather than taking notes. You are most welcome to come, sit back, relax, take part in and enjoy the discussions!
- Course fees include a short tea/coffee/snack break somewhere in the middle of each session.
- There are no refunds for missed classes. Missed classes can be made up by watching the on-line recording of the class session, which is usually posted within 24 hours.
- Guests of registered participants are welcome to attend a single class at no charge.
- Certificates of Completion for any particular Term Course or Series are available for Professional Development purposes upon request at the end of each Term or Series.
Cost per person per Term (8 classes):
- Waged: NZ$150 (includes GST + online registration fee)
- Unwaged (unemployed, students, seniors): NZ$125 (includes GST + online registration fee)
Prices for Waged and Unwaged registrants remain the same regardless of your chosen method for accessing our courses. This means that you have the option to mix and match access between attending our regularly-scheduled live class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms, accessing our live class sessions on-line via Zoom at the regularly scheduled class meeting time (no matter where you are located), or watching the video-recorded sessions anywhere at a time and date of your choosing. This allows you to study at your own pace and in your own time.
Once registered, you have three choices for attending your course:
- attend our in-person class sessions in our Hamilton classrooms,
- Zoom in to our live classroom sessions and participate in discussions,
- access the live-recorded class sessions each week. This allows you to register for an entire course, even though the scheduled class session day/time may not be suitable to your schedule. You may also use this option to watch any recorded session for review, or in case you may miss a class session due to prior engagement, being away, or due to illness. This allows you to catch up with any “missed” sessions at a more suitable time.
Once registered, you will receive detailed instructions on how to access our courses via either of the distance-learning options, i.e. live access via Zoom, or watching the video-recorded sessions.
LOCATION: All in-person classes are held at the EarthDiverse offices and classrooms located at 401 Anglesea Street, Hamilton Central, Hamilton (located just north of the Hamilton Central Bus Station) (entrance is located on the side of the building, see map below). Those looking for parking for our evening classes can park just in front of the building in any of the available car parks. Daytime parking can be found in our dedicated car parks, or free 2-hour on-street daytime parking can be found just in front on Anglesea Street.
DISTANCE LEARNING: You get to choose your location when you Zoom in to our live classroom sessions, or access our classes at your leisure and at a time and day of your choosing by watching the video recorded sessions from each class. This allows you to study at your own pace.