FDSCI 101 - Science Foundations


As we strive to come closer to our Heavenly Father, a vital part of that endeavor is seeking after, finding, and using truth to improve our lives and make us better disciples of Christ. There are two ways to discover truth in this life, by revelation and by the scientific process. In this course, we will explore the scientific process while considering its complementary relationship to revelation. The reasons for, and reconciliation of, potential conflicts between these two truth-seeking methods will also be addressed.

Science can be described as both a body of knowledge and the process by which that knowledge is obtained. As an introduction to science, this course will focus more on the process and helping students understand how science works. Some facts from the body of knowledge will by necessity also be part of that discussion. Students will have opportunities to engage with the scientific process through a variety of online, individual, and group activities.

In a series of two-week units, we will discuss and demonstrate the four areas of the process of science: Exploration & Discovery, Testing Ideas, Community Analysis & Feedback, and Benefits & Outcomes.

As companion to these areas, each unit will focus on the influence of this process on the development of major theories in one of the following areas: Cosmology, Chemistry, Geology, and Biology. Weekly enrichment activities will provide students with opportunities to explore other branches of science, as well as applying these principles to their daily life.

Most of the semester will be broken into one-week lessons. These lessons will begin with online preparation for exploration activities and conclude with a set of online enrichment activities that students can select from. Opportunities for students to reflect on their learning are provided weekly as well. These weekly activities count towards 65% of the final grade (Prepare 25%, Explore 14%, Enrich 26%).

Students will have further opportunities to demonstrate what they have learned in two exams (together worth 32% of the final grade). More details on these assessments and the policies related to them can be found on the page in the I-Learn site for this course.

As students better understand how science works and what it has done for our society, they will develop a deeper appreciation of the usefulness and limitations of science. This development will be demonstrated through pre- and post-semester attitude surveys (which, combined, count for 3% of the final grade).

Course Outcomes

Students will...

  1. Explain the complementary natures of scientific and religious inquiry.
    • Be able to identify and reconcile apparent conflicts.
  2. Describe the process of science and apply it to a variety of disciplines.
    • Demonstrate how exploration & discovery, testing ideas, community analysis & feedback, and consideration of benefits & outcomes contribute to the development of scientific knowledge and theories.
    • Illustrate the process of science in the development of major theories in various disciplines, including cosmology, chemistry, geology, and biology.
    • Apply science personally and generally to their daily life.
    • Evaluate the validity of scientific claims.
  3. Become excited about science and appreciate its usefulness.
    • Show an increased positive attitude towards science and scientists.
    • Recognize positive contributions science makes to society.

Grading Policies

Final grades in this course will be assigned as follows (numbers are rounded)

  1. (25%) Prepare Assignments

  2. (14%) Explore Activities

  3. (26%) Enrich Activities

  4. (32%) Exams

  5. (03%) Pre-/Post-Semester Attitude Surveys

Letter Grades

Letter grades will be assigned in accordance with the University Catalog guidelines and based on the final percentages as follows:

A = 93-100% A- = 90-92% B+ = 87-89%
B = 83-86% B- = 80-82% C+ = 77-79%
C = 73-76% C- = 70-72% D+ = 67-69%
D = 63-66% D- = 60-62% F = <59%

Prepare Assignments

Prepare assignments consist of collections of readings, videos, or other media with associated questions. The purpose of these assignments is to introduce the lesson's subject matter and provide the foundational understanding for the Explore activities.

Explore Activities

The explore activities will be centered around an activity designed to further explore the topics introduced in the preparation activities. These will usually be weekly class meetings, quizzes, and occasionally a small project. Students are expected to actively participate. Students will report their work on the Explore discussion board in I-Learn.

Enrich Activities

Enrichment activities provide students with opportunities to dig even deeper into the concepts of the lesson. Students will have multiple options from which to choose the context in which they reflect and apply the principles of the process of science discussed earlier in the week. These activities will vary in composition, including discussion boards, writing exercises, quizzes, and small projects. Normally, each student will complete their own assignment, comment on the work of others, and finally reply to comments made on their work. These will all be online-based activities. Enrichment activities can be turned in up to one week late for 70% credit; this excludes comments and responses on the Enrichment Discussion Board.

Reflect Activities

Lessons 2 through 14 contain an evaluation survey. This survey is part of an ongoing course improvement effort.


Students will have two opportunities to demonstrate understanding and mastery of the course materials and concepts in formal examinations. The first exam will occur at the end of Unit 3, and the second will occur at the end of Unit 7. Due to the nature of the course, the second exam will be comprehensive; however, both exams will count the same. Exam dates are listed on the course page. Exceptions to the stated dates would be rare and result from great need.

Pre-/Post-Semester Attitude Survey

An important goal of this course is to affect students' attitudes towards science. This is assessed through a survey of attitudes before and after the semester. Credit is given for thoughtfully completing these surveys, not for the contents of the responses.