Summer 2014

Each summer course provides three hours of graduate credit and has a $200 fee unless otherwise noted. An award from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program subsidizes costs for most of these courses, including lodging, meals, materials, and tuition. For most courses, the application deadline is April 4 or until courses fill. Application procedures.

Browse or download the full color 2014 SC Life course catalog (PDF).

HHMI/SC Life courses:
Better Lives and Living through Chemistry - June 9-13 and 16-20
Basics of Molecular Genetics - Online June 15-20, on campus June 22 -27
Patterns in Nature: Quantitative Biology  - Online June 16-20, on campus June 23-27
Upper Savannah River Basin Lakes - Online July 7-11, on campus July 14-18

Other Courses:
Biogeography and Geology of South Carolina - distance learning, offered as requested
Natural History and Ecology of the Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station - July 7-11, subsidized by the Duke Energy Foundation  (full, maintaining waiting list)

Additional Opportunities for teachers and students.

BIOSC 730: Better Lives and Living through Chemistry
Credits: 3 hours
Dates: June 9-13 and 16-20
Location: Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Instructor: Dr. Andy Tennyson, Department of Chemistry at Clemson University

Life in the modern era as we know it would not exist without the advances in medicine and technology that began with the dawn of the First Industrial Revolution. In turn, these advances would not have been possible without understanding how properties at the molecular level can produce macroscopic impacts in human health and industry. This course will distill these macroscopic impacts down to intuitively accessible fundamental chemical concepts, such as Coulombic forces and symmetry. Special emphasis will be placed on (1) how the structure of a molecule produces its medicinal activity or side effects, (2) the organic chemistry of enzymes, and (3) how human civilization and industry impact the environment on a chemical level.

BIOSC 730: Basics of Molecular Genetics
Credits: 3 hours
Dates: Online June 15-20, on campus June 22 -27
Location: Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Instructor: Dr. Vicki Corbin, Director of Education Outreach, College of Agriculture, Forestry and Life Sciences at Clemson University

This course is for teachers who want a fun and effective way to help their students learn molecular biology/recombinant DNA technology and its role in everyday life, from the genetically modified organisms we eat to medical tests. Each day we will combine short lectures with hands-on, inquiry-based learning activities that cover all the lab activities offered through the Clemson University Life Sciences Outreach Center. We will learn basic molecular biology and microbiology technology and theory. We will examine the structure of DNA (e.g., isolate and cut DNA, run gels, make restriction maps; amplify DNA fragments using PCR); observe how genes are controlled; identify the “criminal” using mock forensic evidence, including DNA fingerprints; correlate genetic traits with DNA markers (DNA sequences); transform bacteria, identify and verify the transformed clones; and solve a medical mystery (hint: it involves bacteria). We will work in teams to modify the labs and activities for use in your own classrooms.

BIOSC 730: Patterns in Nature: Quantitative Biology 
Credits: 3 hours
Dates: Online June 16-20, on campus June 23-27
Location(s): Online, then on the Clemson campus with field trips to: Clemson Experimental Forest, Pisgah National Forest, Jocassee Gorges Management Area, and Mountain Bridge Wilderness Area
Instructor: Dr. Rocky Nation, Department of Biology at Southern Wesleyan University

One of the basic principles of ecology is that organisms are not distributed randomly over the face of the earth – there are patterns.  Despite great diversity of habitats and life forms, these patterns can be quantified, often quite easily.  Through a combination of online and classroom instruction and field work in a variety of natural areas in the upstate of South Carolina, this course will review basic principles of population, community, and ecosystem ecology and explore methods for sampling, measuring, and describing biodiversity.  Topics include estimating population sizes of plants and animals, calculating community diversity and similarity indices, assessing the roles of abiotic and biotic factors in determining ecosystem structure, and collecting and integrating environmental and geographical data. The concept of hypothesis testing will be introduced and the use of calculators and simple computer spreadsheets for calculating descriptive and inferential statistics for a variety of grade levels will be addressed. A working knowledge of high school-level algebra should be adequate for the purposes of the course.

BIOSC 730: Upper Savannah River Basin Lakes
Credits:  3 hours
Dates: Online July 7-11, on campus July 14-18
Location: Clemson University, Clemson, SC
Instructor: Dr. John Hains, Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University

Aquatic systems, such as lakes, reservoirs and rivers, serve numerous vital roles in communities and societies. Studies of aquatic systems integrate many academic topics, including biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics and social studies. This course will equip teachers with the knowledge and resources to incorporate studies of a local lake, reservoir, pond, river or stream into standards-based classroom activities. Teachers will explore the Upper Savannah River basin reservoirs (Jocassee, Keowee and Hartwell, and Richard B. Russell) and streams to learn about their natural and cultural history, ecology, watersheds, water chemistry, water quality, and aquatic life. Field experiences include water quality testing, stream surveying, aquatic macroinvertebrate sampling, and watershed analyses. The field portion of this course is physically-demanding and activities may include moderate hiking, canoeing, wading and boating while participating in a wide variety of sampling methods and laboratory exercises. Expect to spend most days in the field (weather permitting), on the water, in bright sunlight. Swimming abilities are advised, but not required. Teachers will be expected to take part in all field work and to produce a final project in which they create lesson plans using the new ideas and skills they have acquired during the course.

BIOSC 730: Natural History and Ecology of Bad Creek Hydroelectric Station
Credits: 3 hours 
Dates: July 7-11 
Fee: $50 plus personal, daily transportation costs to course site. A grant from the Duke Energy Foundation subsidizes costs for this course, including lodging, meals, materials and tuition. 
Location: Bad Creek Hydro Station, Salem, SC 
Instructors: Hugh “Skip” Still, School of Agricultural, Forest, and Environmental Sciences and Dr. Barbara Speziale, Department of Biological Sciences at Clemson University, Duke Energy personnel, and several local scientists and experts.

Learn how basic principles and general practices of wildlife and land management were used during the construction of a large hydro facility to enhance species populations and diversity. Teachers will examine how proper planning can restore, minimize and in some cases enhance soil, vegetation, water and wildlife resources. This course explores the ecological relationships among native plant and animal species (e.g., predation, competition, parasitism, mutualism, and commensalism) through observation and hands on research opportunities. A variety of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems will be studied and include field sampling techniques such as plant identification, DNA sampling, track stations, reptile and amphibian coverboards, and freshwater macroinvertebrate collection. Ecosystems within the Blue Ridge mountain region of the Jocassee Gorges include upland hardwood forest, vernal ponds, streams, and reservoirs. Teachers will have the opportunity to learn how hydropower works and will spend some time in the underground facilities and at The World of Energy learning about hydroelectric power generation and the WAIT (Wildlife and Industry Together) Program. Watershed management and dynamics will be covered at regional and local scales. This course is especially useful for teachers in the Upstate region planning a field trip to the Duke Energy Bad Creek Outdoor Classroom.

GEOL 790: Biogeography and Geology of South Carolina
Credits: 3 hours
Dates: TBA – offered as requested Location: Combination distance learning and on-site lab sessions
Lecture Format: Lectures are on DVDs (provided free to participants)
Lab Format: Time and location selected by participants in consultation with assigned Master Teachers
Fee: $300 per in-service teacher (includes course materials and field trip expenses).
Instructors: Dr. John Wagner, Department of Environmental Engineering and Earth Sciences at Clemson University and local master teachers
Contact: Geology K-12 Outreach Office 864/656-1560,,

Teachers learn in-depth about the natural history of South Carolina and how to apply it to lessons in their classrooms. The course offers a standards-based, content-intensive study of the geology and biogeography of South Carolina from an interdisciplinary perspective. A minimum of four teachers is required to schedule the course. Instruction is presented through DVD lessons, Internet resources, and group lab sessions with local master teachers. Each group chooses three study units out of 10 available modules. Unit 1 is required for those who have not previously completed an approved statewide natural history course. Each teacher must have Internet and e-mail access, either through school or at home. A registration form, detailed agenda and syllabus are posted on the Geology K-12 Outreach web site at