Introduction to Geology

Chad Heinzel

University of Northern Iowa
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


Introduction to the physical environment, emphasizing materials of the Earth and processes that lead to changes within and on the Earth. Lab emphasis includes rocks and minerals, geologic processes, and landscape development. Discussion, 3 periods; lab, 2 periods. Prerequisite(s): student must have satisfied university entrance requirements in English and Mathematics.

Course URL:
Resource Type: Course Information
Special Interest: GIS
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Course Size:


Course Context:

"This is an introductory course with no pre-requisites and does serves as a prerequisite for other geology courses. Typically, 90% of the students take the course to satisfy a general education requirement the other 10% need the course for an Earth Science/Geology major. The course has a mandatory lab."

Course Goals:

Students should be able to...
- Identify 30 primary minerals based on their physical properties
- identify the major rock types
- identify the differences between minerals and rocks
- read and construct topographic maps
- compare and contrast basic depositional environments (e.g. colluvial, alluvial, eolian...)
- explain (in general) why some volcanoes tend to produce more explosive eruptions that others...
- the basic processes behind plate tectonics and their products
- the role of GIS in geologic research
- understand the basic principles of groundwater storage, flow, and recharge
- define the 'geography' of a fluvial system (including flooding)
- be able to have a scientifically based conversation on climate variability and anthropogenic forcing...

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

We try to link lectures, class discussions, and applied labs to address and meet our course goals.

Skills Goals

Field Experience (40 pts)
- There is a required field trip or other field based experience. You will be notified of opportunities to complete this experience in class and on the UNI Earth Science Facebook fan page. If you are able to take Chad's Field Studies in SE Utah course (870:037: last 8 weeks of the semester + a whitewater rafting trip after school gets out) you will receive credit for this experience.

1- Field trip
4 – Podcast write ups
2- Seminars

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

Offering multiple out of class experiences that relate to class topics is very important and help us meet the class goals.

Attitudinal Goals

Basic course objectives

Your liberal arts education - Courses in natural science promote an understanding of science as a human process that investigates matter and energy acting within complex organic and inorganic systems. Fundamental principles of both physical and life sciences are included.

Specifically -
1.Obtain experience utilizing scientific methodology (observation, hypotheses, experimentation, interpretation, and theory)
2.Gain a fundamental understanding of the Earth (properties and processes)
3.Provide you with valuable information that will give you a basic 'tool kit' to go out and actively explore your environment and interpret articles/video of earth science publications.
4.Prepare you for taking upper level earth science courses, allowing you to further explore what you find most fascinating.
5.Work hard and have a great time doing it!

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

I try very hard to create a open and holistic classroom emphasizing that geology plays a large role in the students lives and is a great career choice!


testing (throughout the semester and final exam)
Qualitative- field experiences, Facebook fan page, office hours...


Chad Heinzel_University_of_Northern_Iowa (Microsoft Word 54kB May27 10)

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