Montana State University

EDCI 591-801: Environmental Science Education: Summer Ecological Field Studies

The Office of Continuing Education at Extended University offers both face-to-face and online learning opportunities:

  • Degree Programs
  • Certificate Programs
  • Professional Development
  • Summer Field Study Programs
  • Study Abroad
  • Leisure and Lifelong Learning
  • Youth Programs

Jun 12-Jul 28, 2017
Credit: 3 graduate
Instructor(s): Michael Brody

Course Description

Please register for CRN 11140
This course is designed for educators of children in grades 6-12 to learn and practice basic ecological field techniques and integrate them into their instruction. This course focuses on summer field ecological studies including stream, forest, plant and bird studies. All studies will be completed outdoors in your local environment. A wide variety of field study techniques will be presented and the participants will share the results of the studies. Basic ecological concepts will be presented in the context of the field studies. Participants will have many opportunities to share their views on a variety of topics related to the environment and education. This course is a great opportunity to meet and interact with educators throughout the USA whose work focuses on ecology and young people.

Summer ecological field study activities will include:
  • Herbarium Compilation
  • Local Flora Description; Plants Species List
  • Vertical Structure of a Forest
  • Grass, Canopy and Flying Invertebrates Population
  • Birds Nesting Behavior
  • Complex Comparative Description of Small Rivers and Streams
  • Study of Aquatic Invertebrates and Assessment of Environmental Status
  • Plankton Investigation in the Near Shore Part of Lake or Pond
  • The Estimation of Ecological Situation of Grasslands and Meadows using Ecological Ordination Techniques
  • The Estimation of Ecological Health of the Forest Based on Leaf Symmetry Observations
This is a practical course in teaching about the environment and working with children. We are looking for a good distribution of 6-12 grade educators and would like representation from as many regions of the U.S. as possible. This will help insure a wide variety of results and good opportunities to compare ecosystems and regions of the country. We also want individuals who are planning to implement the field study techniques in their classroom or with groups of students in informal settings. We will encourage you to share how you will adapt or adopt these techniques to your own teaching and ecological situation. Everyone's situation is different and we can learn much from each other. It is not required that you actually teach these field studies to children as part of the course but we do encourage you to do the studies with other people who can share their impressions of the activity with you.

Meeting Place and Times

Teachers login to the course at a time of day that best fits their schedule. It is necessary to connect at least 4 - 6 times per week spending 14 - 18 hours each week, either online or offline while the course is in session, to stay current and successfully complete this intensive 3 credit graduate level course.


Michael Brody, EdD.
Professor of Science Education at Montana State University. Dr. Brody teaches environmental science and education courses for teachers. He has worked extensively on educational issues related to ecosystems, environmental degradation and environmental health issues.


Students in this course must be past, present or future educators, and actively engaged in science education activities.

Target Audience

This course is designed for educators of children in grades 6-12 to learn and practice basic ecological field techniques and integrate them into their instruction.

Time Commitment:

14-18 hours per week. If you are unfamiliar with this field of study and/or method of delivery, you may require more time.

Tuition and Fees

If you are accepted into a qualified online program, see the appropriate MSU Online Only Tuition and Fee table below:

If you are also taking a face-to-face course, please refer to the MSU Fee Schedules.

The Program Fee includes a CD-ROM with 10 mpeg files of 10 different ecological field studies. Montana State University will send you the CD shortly before the course begins.

Required Books/Materials

  • All text material will be presented in the course on-line. A set of videos of each field technique will be available to the participants.

    The Program Fee includes a CD-ROM with 10 mpeg files of 10 different ecological field studies. The ecological field studies videos are suitable for use with students in classrooms or informal education settings. The CD will be sent to you via snail mail by Montana State University shortly before the course begins.

Computer Requirements:

  • Internet access
  • A device and browser that pass the system check for Brightspace LE, MSU's learning management system.

This course uses a learning management system. You will learn more closer to the course start date.

For More Information

Contact Professor Michael Brody at

For information about registration, contact Kelly Boyce at

How to Register

You must be accepted as a student to Montana State University to take this course.

Learn how to apply.

After your application has been accepted, you will register via MSU's online registration system, MyInfo.

Registration requires a PIN number. Learn how to find your PIN.

Once you have your PIN, learn how to register through MyInfo.

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