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Physical Geology

Joel Aquino, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics), Gainesville State College
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Summary


This course, Physical Geology, is a college-level introductory course whose general aim is to provide an "overall" perspective about earth science. It is never meant to be comprehensive in scope but provides a conceptual understanding of the underlying physical and chemical concepts governing the earth's processes. Only minor emphasis will given to the numerous terms in earth science as this distracts the fundamental understanding of the underlying scientific principle.

Course Type:
Entry Level:Physical Geology

Course Size:
15-30

Course Format:
Lecture and lab

Institution Type:
Two Year College

Course Context:

This is an introductory course (3 hrs credit)with no pre-requisites and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. Typically, >90% of the students who take the course are non-science and/or on-engineering majors and take the course to satisfy a general education requirement. The course has a required separate lab (1 hr credit)

Course Content:

Geology 1250 Physical Geology covers the broad topics of nature of science, minerals, rock types and associated formational processes, earthquakes, geologic time and dating principles, surface processes, geologic hazards, plate tectonics and earth's resources. There are 10 labs and one fieldtrip that emphasize on how geologists use the underlying physical and chemical concepts to understand earth's processes. At the same time, students are introduced to skills unique to earth scientists such as mineral/rock identification, mapping and interpretation, drilling and resource calculation.

Assessment:

The students are assessed based on the 6 levels of Bloom's Taxonomy. In order of increasing critical thinking skills, these levels are as follows - knowledge, comprehension, application, analysis, synthesis and evaluation. The first three lower levels are tested at the end of each chapter take home quiz which at the end of the semester will count as one test. Since I collect each chapter quiz at the end of the period, this actually encourages both outside and within classroom discussion. These lower levels are also tested on the required lab report particularly in the sections of statement of the problem/objectives, summary of literature review, methodology and data presentation (tables/graphs). On the other hand, the upper three taxonomic levels are tested through the next three combined essay and problem-solving exams that typically last 2-3 hrs. Each exam has 4 to 5 questions ( 3 easy, 1 medium and 1 hard) and conducted with open notes and strong lab correlation. These higher levels are also tested in the following sections of their lab reports - analysis, conclusion, evaluation of experimental weaknesses and suggestions for improvement. However, there is one level outside this taxonomic pyramid and that is creativity. Creativity is difficult to evaluate but given the chance, when a student demonstrates an extraordinary "outside the box" project or presentation or persuasive argument, a extra credit is awarded.

Syllabus:

Geology 1250 – Physical Geology

Instructor: Dr. Joel S. Aquino

Email: jaquino@gsc.edu

Office: Natural Sciences and Engineering Building

Office Telephone: (678) 717-3927

Office hours: Make prior appointment

Textbook: The Changing Earth – Exploring Geology and Evolution Resources by Monroe and Wicander (ISBN-13: 978-0-8400-6208-6)

Required Course Materials: Scientific Calculator, Ruler with centimeter markings, colored pencils, compass

Course Objectives:

This course, Physical Geology, is a college-level introductory course whose general aim is to provide an "overall" perspective about earth science. It is never meant to be comprehensive in scope but provides a conceptual understanding of the underlying physical and chemical concepts governing the earth's processes. Only minor emphasis will given to the numerous terms in earth science as this distracts the fundamental understanding of the underlying scientific principle. Though conceptual in approach, the students are expected to have a basic comprehension of high school mathematics (algebra). These mathematical tools are used to quantify the curiosity raised by the students during lectures, discussions and lab. Moreover, students will appreciate the predictive power of simple mathematical language as it relates to the dynamism of the earth's processes.

During the course of the semester, students are expected to gradually realize that the earth is a "living system". Different parts of the system interact; if one part of the system is manipulated, the rest of the system is affected. Case histories and personal field anecdotes will be presented for group discussion. Ultimately, students will be able to realize that the "future" of our planet rests on what we do now. For us, humans, have the power to alter its course.

Attendance Policy: The class will be run through the concept of "exploratory learning" where the laboratory part of the course is integrated within the lecture component. Thus, attendance is mandatory for the course. An attendance list will be passed around for record purposes. Due to the amount of material to be covered, it is to your advantage to attend every class session.

Class Behavior Policy: Mature and respectful behavior is expected from the class. Disruptive behavior is not tolerated and disruptive student will be requested to leave the classroom. Repeated offence will lead to a force withdrawal from the course.

USE OF PERSONAL ELECTRONIC DEVICES SUCH AS LAPTOPS, CELLPHONES, CD's and ELECTRONIC GAMES ARE NOT ALLOWED DURING CLASS HOURS

Grading Policy: You will have two grades - lecture grade and a lab grade. The lecture grade will consist of 4 exams (80%) and a final exam (20%). One of the exams is just the average of take home quizzes. The lab grade is just the average of all the lab activities. Missed exams or lab may not be made up without a verifiable written evidence of a problem causing you to miss class. Excused absences include accident, illness, death of an immediate member of a family. You may only make up one excused lab and/or exam during the semester, and it is your responsibility to complete all labs.

Class and Exam Schedule: The attached schedule for lecture topics, lab topics and exam details is only meant to serve as a guide. Depending on the progress of the class, the scheduled topics are flexible and dynamic.

DURING EXAMS, NO SHARING OF BOOKS, NOTES AND CALCULATORS

Accommodations: Any student needing an accommodation due to disability should first contact the Office of Disability Services at (678)717-3855. Their office address is at Gainesville State College, Disability Services, 3820 Mundy Mill Rd, Oakwood, GA 30566. You may also email Carolyn Swindle (Coordinator of Disability Services) at cswindle@gsc.edu.

Course Consent Form

I have fully read and will fully abide by the requirements of the course. I understand that non-compliance with the course requirements will lead to a failing grade and/or voluntary/force withdrawal from the course.

_______________________ _____________

Student Signature Date

Geology 1250 (Physical Geology) Schedule:

Lecture/Lab Class Schedule (MW or TTH – 5:30-8pm)

Date, Chapter & Topic

Day 1 Introduction, Nature of Science

Day 2,3 Chapter 1,3 The Earth as a system, Properties of minerals

Day 4,5 Chapter 4,5 Igneous rocks, Volcanic hazards and Igneous intrusions

Day 6,7 Chapter 6 Weathering and Soils, Sedimentary rocks and environments

Day 8,9 Chapter 7 Metamorphic Rocks and Metamorphism

Day 10 EXAM

Day 11,12,13 Chapter 10 Mountain Building Processes, Structural Geology, Geologic maps

Day 14,15 Chapter 8 Earthquakes and the Earth's interior

Day 16 Chapter 9 Ocean Basins and Continents

Day 17,18 Chapter 11, 12, 13 Mass wasting, Hydrologic cycle, Surface Water and Groundwater

Day 19 EXAM

Day 20 Chapter 14 Glaciers, Deserts Shorelines and Coastal processes

Day 21,22,23 Supplemental Chapter Energy and mineral resources

Day 24,25 Chapter 17, 18 Geologic time and Evolution

Day 26, 27 Chapter 2,1 Plate Tectonics and Planetary Geology

Day 28, 29 EXAM and Review for Finals

Day 30 FINALS

Lab Schedule

Day 1,2 Scientific Method (1 lab)
Day 3-5 Properties of Minerals (2 labs)
Day 6-9 Major Rock Types (3 labs)
Day 11-13 Topographic Maps and Geologic Structures (1 lab)
Day 14,15 Geologic Maps and Earthquakes (1 lab)
Day 15-18 Surface and Groundwater (1 lab)
Day 21-23 Resource Calculations (2 labs)
Day 24-25 Geologic Time (2 labs)
Saturday Field Trip

References and Notes:




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