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Geochemistry

Author Profile
Diane M. Krueger
,
http://www.lssu.edu/contacts/displayinfo.php?id=dkrueger
,
dianekrueger201@hotmail.com

Lake Superior State University
a
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate
.

Summary

This course will provide an introduction to the topics that are normally covered in a college geochemistry course, but will serve as a substitute for economic geology as well. The primary focus will be to give students a primer for the fields they will most likely enter - oil industry, mining, and environmental work.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Geochemistry
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi, Course Information
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Course Type: Upper Level:Geochemistry
Topics: Solid Earth:Geochemistry
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is a junior/senior level course for geology majors, with course prerequisites of one year of introductory geology, structural geology, Mineralogy/Petrology, and the Sophomore Field Course. College chemistry is supposed to have been completed, but not all students will have done so. There are two, 1-hour lectures and two, 3-hour labs per week, some of which will be superseded by long day and weekend field trips.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to design a sampling plan to gather that data likely to be needed, given a geochemistry question or problem.
Students should be able to predict mostment of an element or material (such as C or S) as it cycles through the primary Earth reservoirs.
Students should be able to synthesize data from published databases to create graphs and/or analyze a question raised regarding the data or conclusions drawn from it.
Students should be able to predict the type of or chemistry or an ore/ore body that will form in a particular setting, having been provided with a basic data set or set of facts.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course activities and structure will focus around field trips, where students will be expected to make concept sketches and synthesize data and observations, and hypothesize about environments / processes of formation. Students will use published data sets to practice exporting them to Excel or modeling programs and making pertinent graphs and tables, and interpreting those. Students will prepare presentations and posters that convey their understanding of specific topics and/or localities that are pertinent to geochemistry. Most activities will be scored using rubrics that the students will have seen in advance of each project.

Skills Goals

Improving the skills of interpreting and creating topographic and geologic maps, as well as geologic cross sections.
Improving the skill of using databases to solve problems, answer geologic questions, and create graphs and tables.
Improving the skill of working in teams.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course activities and structure will include use of or creating of topographic and geologic maps and cross sections as they visit various field sites and/or study specific locations in the classroom. As stated previously, students will use published data sets to practice exporting them to Excel or modeling programs and making pertinent graphs and tables, and interpreting those. Students will also do much of their lab work in groups, with rotating partners, as well as giving short presentations and preparing posters in teams. Most activities will be scored using rubrics that the students will have seen in advance of each project. Some of the student group presentations will also have a component of scoring by their peers, also using very simple rubrics provided to all.

Attitudinal Goals

Improving student awareness of issues around the world today that are related to geochemistry, and how geochemistry affects their everyday life.


How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course activities and structure will include debates and Gallery Walks that focus on some of the largest political and scientific debates on-going today, such as the Kyoto Treaty and global warming. Students will also be assigned the task of looking for current news articles that are related to some topics of geochemistry. Most activities will be scored using rubrics that the students will have seen in advance of each project. Some of the student group presentations will also have a component of scoring by their peers, also using very simple rubrics provided to all. Some of the brief presentations regarding geochemistry in the news will be scored simply on whether they did they assigned task or not and if it appears that they put a little time and thought into it.

Assessment

I intend to use a variety of techniques to assess student learning in this course. Traditional announced quizzes and exams will remain for some of the topics, but concept sketches will be scored to assess learning of some topics and field sites, scores based on rubrics will be given for participation and level of preparation for classroom debates and short presentations, and analytical outputs (graphs, tables, brief summary write-ups) will be scored for accuracy and appropriate labeling.

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