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Brigham Young University
University with graduate programs, primarily masters programs


This course is an introductory geochemistry class that focuses on the application of basic chemical principles and problem-solving to geochemical systems.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology, Geology:Geochemistry, Geoscience
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi, Course Information
Special Interest: Complex Systems
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Geochemistry, Teach the Earth:Incorporating Societal Issues:Complex Systems
Course Type: Upper Level:Geochemistry
Topics: Solid Earth:Geochemistry
Course Size:
less than 15

Course Context:

This is an upper-division elective course for Geology majors. Prerequisites include mineralogy, petrology, calculus, and freshman chemistry.

Course Goals:

1. Students should be able to plan and carry out appropriate mathematical strategies for solving geochemical problems.
2. Students will be able to synthesize the results of their problem-solving with other work in the form of short, well-organized articles.
3. Students will be able to critique possible oversimplifications in geochemical models.

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

Course activities are designed to give the students practice at basic problem-solving, computer-based analysis, and analytical writing. Assessment rubrics are designed for major assignments that give clear criteria for different grades in terms of both content knowledge and skills exhibited.

Skills Goals

1. Analytical/scientific writing
2. Applied math and modeling

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

The course major course activities are structured so as to give practice:

1. solving simple problems by hand,
2. solving more complex problems using computer applications
3. writing analytical paragraphs
4. writing more complex analytical papers based on the results of their complex problem-solving activities.

The overall course structure is designed to provide a gradual progression of knowledge and skills that can be applied to the assignments.

Attitudinal Goals

1. improving students' sense of healthy skepticism toward complex models
2. building students' confidence in their ability to simplify and solve complex scientific problems, and then communicate their findings effectively.

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

The course activities have ample feedback mechanisms built in, so that students have opportunities to learn from their mistakes.


I assess student learning via essay/problem exams, concept sketch assignments, and major writing assignments.



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