Introduction to Earth Science

Leslie Kanat

Johnson State College (Public four-year institution, primarily undergraduate)


Introduction to Earth Science will expose you, the student, to the principles that underlie our understanding of how and why the Earth evolves. You will learn about the wide variety of processes associated with geological activity and begin to develop an appreciation for geological time, plate tectonics, and many of Earth's cycles. This knowledge may help you make intelligent decisions about events that affect humankind.

Course Type: Intro Level:Earth Science
Course Size:

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites, however, it is a required course for four different majors, and a pre-requisite for many other courses in the environmental science program. Most students take this course to satisfy the physical science component of the general education requirement. It attracts an equal distribution of students from freshmen through senior standing. This class also brings undecided students into our major. The course has weekly assignments, a required two-hour lab, and a weekend field trip.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to...

  • Evaluate the magnitude of numbers
  • Solve map problems of scale, location, and distance
  • Explain the relationship of earthquakes and volcanoes to plate tectonic theory
  • Evaluate the magnitude of the ozone problem and the greenhouse effect
  • Describe weather patterns and the reasons for the seasons
  • Work cooperatively in groups
  • Write clearly and present professional quality work
  • Recognize the benefits of punctuality


Assessment is accomplished by numerous two-minute quizzes, laboratory work, field work, and pyramid style exams.


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 37kB Jun22 06)

Teaching Materials:

Most assignments are linked to the course web page (

References and Notes:

Tarbuck, E.J. and F.K. Lutgens, 2006. Earth Science, Eleventh Edition, Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 726 pages.

AGI/NAGT, 2006. Laboratory Manual in Physical Geology, Seventh Edition, Prentice-Hall, New Jersey, 302 pages.