Geology - Dual Credit

Aida Awad

Maine East High School
high school


Physical Geology laboratory-based course plus a Historical Geology component.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology, Geoscience
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level
Course Type: Intro Level:Physical Geology
Earth System Topics: Solid Earth
Theme: Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is an introductory course that is taught for dual credit with Oakton College (4 semester hours). It includes a significant laboratory component. Technology is heavily integrated into the course, especially geospatial tools such as GIS and Google Earth. Students are required to complete 4-6 major projects during the course of the year that are presented to a variety of audiences.

Course Goals:

This year long course focuses on Earth's physical and geologic systems, processes and natural resources, and on the impact they have on humans, and the impact humans have on the environment. Included will be studies of the following: earthquakes; volcanoes; plate tectonics; minerals and rocks; global climate disruption; glaciation; weathering and erosion; groundwater; mapping and imaging the earth's surface; sedimentology and fluvial processes; structural geology; and geologic time.

Students will be expected to apply concepts and skills learned in the Chemistry I / Physics I sequence as well as in Biology I. Students who register for the dual credit course with Oakton College will earn 4 semester hours of college science laboratory credit.

Geological Science is a laboratory based class. Students will be exposed to different methods of teaching including: cooperative learning groupings; on-line activities; virtual labs; class discussion; small group study; blogs; small group presentation; laboratory investigations; research projects; multi-media presentations and projects; extensive use of internet based materials and technologies including Google docs collaborative work; and geologic investigations using GIS and GPS. The course includes two all day field work experiences and several on-campus field work experiences.

Skills Goals

  1. Improve literacy skills.
  2. Develop ability to navigate common GIS tools such as Google Earth, My World GIS, ArcGIS Explorer and Fieldscope.

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

During the course, students are provided with both direct instruction in using a variety of geospatial visualization tools and with data sets and problems to investigate with the tools. These opportunities also support student literacy as they require significant focus on reading, critical thinking and writing.

Attitudinal Goals

  1. Increase student interest in the geosciences as a possible major by providing broad opportunities for them to experience different areas of geoscience research.
  2. Increase student recognition of the impact of the geosciences on society.

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

Students have several opportunities to delve in to geoscience questions throughout the course that help them gain an understanding of different areas of focus. The include: GIS investigations of tectonics-volcanism-earthquakes, a case study of a mineral resource, a case study of water-groundwater quality and availability, and a major project on climate change.


I strive to assess student learning as authentically as possible. This includes formative and summative assessment. Some assessment is via more traditional mid-term and final exams. A significant amount of assessment is based on student presentations and portfolios and is rubric based.


2011-2012 Physical Geology syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 30kB Nov18 11)