Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Course Descriptions > General Geology 1

General Geology 1

Wayne Powell
Brooklyn College


This course introduces potential geology majors earth science through an investigation of the environmental quality of the local environment, and supporting just-in-time lessons.

Course Type:
Entry Level Environmental Geology

Course Size:

Course Format:
Integrated lecture and lab

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This course models the activities of geoscientists in order to provide practice with foundational skills, and provide students with an early experience from which to judge their interest/aptitude for a career as an earth scientist.

In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses? yes
They cover different topics. The majors course involves more extensive integration of research skills and use of technology.
If students take a "non-majors" course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course? yes

Course Content:

This introductory course covers topics in geology (earth materials, weathering, energy resources, local geological setting) and meteorology. Lab work focuses on sampling and analysis of air-borne particulates and answer questions such as "what is in the air?", "how much particulate matter is in the air?", and "where did the particulates come from?".

Course Goals:

1. Students will be able to inform members of the community about a Brooklyn-related environmental issue that they analyzed from the perspective of a geologist
2. Students will be able to evaluate a claim of an environmental risk as presented in the media
3. Students will be able to effectively and accurately describe complex data and procedures

Course Features:

The course is place-based, focusing on their own community and campus. Priority is given to the lab experience, and lecture material provides scaffolding for the practical activities.

Course Philosophy:

Our students (and their families) are very career-minded. Modeling a practical urban environmental geology investigation provides students with experiences from which to judge their interest/aptitude for a career as an earth scientist, and provides skills and experience to aid in their search for career-related internships.


The main assessment is based on the presentation of their research findings to the class and invited guests (e.g., EPA representative, community official).

References and Notes: