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Physical Geology

NTUNGWA MAASHA, Natural Science, College of Coastal Georgia


Physical Geology is a University of Georgia System course that "covers Earth materials and processes". It may be offered as a one credit course (GEOL1121L ) requiring two hours of lab weekly, a three credit course (GEOL1121) that meets three hourly weekly in lecture or as four credit course (GEOL1121K) that is equivalent to the first two. The college of Coastal Georgia offers only GEOL1121K

Course Type:
Intro Level:Physical Geology

Course Size:

Course Format:

Institution Type:
Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate

Course Context:

This is an introductory course that has no prerequisite. It is required of all the prospective teachers in elementary and middle grades.

Course Content:

The physical geology course covers minerals and rocks, Earth's internal and external processes, plate tectonics, stress, geologic structures and mountain building,the evolution of the Earth's surface, and mineral and energy resources. Laboratory exercises seek to foster the skills of mineral and rock identification, map reading, and other skills geologists use to study the Earth.

Course Goals:

The goals of this course have been stipulated by the Board of Regents Advisory Committee as follows:
A student who completes this course successfully will be able to:

- Describe the general physical properties of planet earth and its internal structure.
- Discuss the chemical composition, properties, and classification of minerals.
- Discuss the formation, properties, and classification of igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks as well as the interrelationship among three types of rocks.
- Explain the external and internal processes which influence the evolution of landscapes, the distribution of geological resources, and their relationships to plate tectonics.

Make sight identification of common rocks and rock-forming minerals
Demonstrate basic map skills used by geologists.

Discuss the effects of human activity on the terrestrial environment.

General Learning Outcomes
The student completing the course successfully will be able to demonstrate an understanding of the Scientific method and the basic concepts in physical geology and the ability to utilize laboratory skills to observe geological phenomena.

Course Features:

(A)In view of the fact that I use integrated lecture and laboratory, the performance on laboratory exercises seems to have consistently provided a good way to check the achievement of learning outcomes.
(B) I use regular lessons checks throughout the course that require the students to give correct responses to objective questions about the material covered and reteaching as necessary. Some of the lesson checks are done using clickers.

Course Philosophy:

In 2005 I attended a workshop at Arizona State University, Tempe on teaching physics courses using "modeling" which fosters active learning. When I adopted the methodology, I started using it for all the courses I teach, including geology.


Assessments to ensure that students have achieved the learning outcomes of the course include:
(A)Requiring the students to demonstrate an understanding of pertinent topics through written work.
(B)Requiring, that at the end of the course the students are able to respond correctly to a significant number of questions on a survey derived from professional geological organization (like GSA).


SYLLABUS FOR PHYSICAL GEOLOGY (Microsoft Word 113kB May6 12)

References and Notes:

Wicander and Monroe: GEOL2 -Introductory Geology
National Geographic Learning was used most recently.
For laboratory work we use :
R. M. Busch . AGI and NAGT Laboratory in Physical geology, 9th edition.