CHICAGO ROCKS!  Geology in the City
ESCI 109, Section 01
Fall 200

Homework Assignments                                                                                            Dr. Sanders

Please note: not all graded assignments are listed here.  Some graded assignments include work completed in class, and will not be posted to this page.  Use these links to quickly go to your assignment of interest.

Homework #1        Homework #5:  Academic Planning                 Homework #8:  Field Trip Plan                    Homework #11: What's Beyond NEIU?
Homework #2        Team Project Overview                                   Homework #9:  Field Trip Report                 Homework #12: Your Top Career Choices
Homework #3        Homework #6:  Team Organizing                     Homework #10: Poster Draft
Homework #4        Homework #7:  Team Citizenship Contract       Poster Presentation

Homework #1: Talk with your family and friends about this course.  Ask them what they think you should know and be able to explain to them about the geology of Chicago by the time you have finished the course.  Make a list  their responses, include your own ideas as well, and put a star (*) next to the four responses you find to be the most thoughtful and/or the most interesting to you.  Due Tuesday, September 8, 2009.

Homework #2:  Read Chicago (and the rest of the Earth!) Rocks.  At the end of the document are several links to web pages.  Based on the first initial of your last (family) name, print out the appropriate readings.  Then, annotate them based on the suggestions provided in your textbook (Chap 15).  Come to class on Tuesday prepared to explain and use the four note-taking methods described in Chapter 11.  Due Tuesday, September 8, 2009.

Homework #3:   E-mail me!  Include "Chicago Rocks! Section 01" in the subject line, and be sure to put your name somewhere in the message so I know who you are.  Due Thursday, September 10, 2009.

Homework #4:  Obtain a Chicago area street map such as the examples shown in class.  Your map should be large enough to show Chicago and the surrounding suburbs.  Put your name on it, and turn it in.  (Don't worry; you'll get it back!)  You will be expected to bring this map to class every day for the rest of the semester.  Due Thursday, September 10, 2009.

Homework #5:  Academic Planning.  In class, Bob Binkowski of the Academic Advising Office distributed a four-page worksheet (a few extras are in the classroom.)  Fill out this worksheet, take it to your advisor, and they will go over it with you.  When they are satisfied with it, they will sign off on it, and you can hand it in.  Worksheets without an advisor's signature will not be accepted.  Due Tuesday, October 13, 2009.

Team Project Overview

    Project Goal:  Investigate the geology of a specific geologic feature.

    Project Requirements 
m  See the assignments below for more information!
m  Work as a team
m  Perform library/web, map, and field research
m  Communicate your findings to the class via a poster presentation.

    Project Deliverables
m  Several homework assignments will involve parts of the project.
m  Poster Presentation:  Following the project requirements, produce a poster that presents your findings.
m  Team Citizenship Evaluation:  At the end of the project, everyone will rate their own and their team members' participation.  Individual grades will reflect the team grade, weighted by the results of the Team Citizenship Evaluation.

Several homework assignments will deal with this project.  See details below.  The team as a whole is responsible for meeting all deadlines.  

Be sure you have a plan--and a backup plan!--for completing and turning in each required stage of the project.   Each component will count as an assignment grade.
Homework #6:  Team Organizing.    This assignment is about team organizing and contact information.  Each team must make a plan to complete this task by no later than midnight on Thursday night, November 19. 

Smart teams will have a backup plan, in case their first plan falls through!

Each team must send a single e-mail addressed to Dr. Sanders *and* all the team members (the same e-mail to all!)   It should have the following information:
E-mail message

Dr. Sanders
         Team member #1
         Team member #2
         Team member #3
         Team member #4
Subject: ESCI 109 Sec 01 [   team name   ]   <-- (Fill your team name in the blank.)


    * The name of your study area
    * The name and contact information for all team members
Homework #7:  Team Citizenship Contract.   Due Tuesday, November 24 at class time.

In this task, the team will work together to write a team contract that every member will sign.  The contract spells out the group's expectations for all team members with regard to good team citizenship.


•  The document must be typed and turned in as a hard copy.

•  Every team member must sign the contract. 

• The contract may include whatever details the group agrees upon, but at a minimum it must contain the following information:

        􀂾 how the team will meet deadlines / due dates (include back-up plan!)
        􀂾 equitable distribution of workload
        􀂾 interpersonal interactions
        􀂾 handling of disagreements
        􀂾 the following text on Firing and Quitting, copied verbatim:


If a team member is chronically non-cooperative, they may be fired from the team, if and only if the rest of the team has done all they can to resolve the situation, including the following escalating steps:  1) attempt to resolve the situation directly with the team member; 2) arrange a consultation of the whole team with the instructor; 3) send a memo to the non-cooperating member warning that unless that person starts fulfilling their responsibilities, he/she is off the team; 4) if one week passes without significant improvement in the situation, the team may send a second memo officially firing the person.  Both memos must be copied to the instructor.

Similarly, if one team member feels that they are “carrying” the rest of their teammates, and has made  a good faith effort to resolve the issue of division of responsibilities, that person may send a memo notifying teammates of her/his intent to resign. If the team cannot resolve the issue within one week, the person may send a second memo announcing their resignation.  Both memos must be copied to the instructor.

A student who is fired or who quits a team is responsible for finding a new team willing to take them on, or they will receive zeros for any further group assignments.

Homework #8:  Field Trip Plan (Due before your field trip and at the latest, Tuesday, December 1, 2009)

Your team has started exploring your study area, and by now you have an idea of major geologic and/or topographic features you want to check out.  For this assignment, compose a preliminary plan for your field trip.  The team will visit the study area as a group to take photos and collect information.  Evidence of the team field trip to the study area is required.  Also required is photographic evidence that the team had fun on the trip!

Include the following in your field trip plan:

A.  Heading Team name, Class (ESCI 109, Section 01), Name of Study Area, Team member names (with correct spelling!)
B.  Date(s) and Time(s) Either confirmed, or possible dates/times.
 C  Sites What sites will you visit, and why?  (What geologic or topographic features make those sites important to visit?)
    D  Travel Logistics  Where will the team meet as a group?  How will each team member get there?  How will the team travel from one site to another within the study area? 
  E  Supplies Necessary items include cameras (actual cameras are best, as many cell phone cameras are *not* up to the task!), extra batteries, maps, notebooks, pencils, snacks?, first aid supplies?, other?) 
Homework #9:  Field Trip Report  (Due within 4 days of your field trip.)
Submit a report of field trip(s) taken.  The report must be...
*       typed
*       two pages maximum
*       either submitted in hard copy (to me in person, or in my "mailbox" on the door of Science Bldg Room 130), OR via email (as a Word file attachment). 

At the top of page 1:
  Include heading information: team name, ESCI 109 section number, name of study area, and team member names.

Report format:
  Write the report in outline form, responding to the categories of questions given below, using the titles and numbering shown below. 
I.    Geology of (insert your study area name here)
  A. Field Trip Stops:  List/describe each of the sites or points of interest you visited, including their location.
    1.  List/describe details about the first site or feature--that is, what you saw on your trip.

2.  List/describe details about the second site or feature.

3.  And so on, covering all the sites or features.
  B.   "What We Learned About Geology" (what the field experience showed you that you did not know before the field trip, or perhaps did not understand as well before seeing it)
    1.  List/describe specific aspects of the geology of your area, as seen on your field trip

2.  (Surely you learned more than one thing!)

Other Field Trip Lessons

  A.  "What Else We Learned about (insert study area name)"
    Here, describe non-geologic aspects you learned by visiting the study area, for example, fun facts; interesting places/things to visit/see; good places to eat/shop; what you liked best about the area; what was not as nice?
  B. "What We Learned About Teamwork" (through your field trip experience)
    As a team, reflect on how the experience was affected by your team dynamic, and/or how your team dynamic was affected by your experiences!
  C. "What We Learned about Each Other and Ourselves"  (You don't need to tell me personal stuff, but did you share great stories?  Who had the best stories to tell?  Did you share the same taste in music?  Did the experience challenge you?)
     1.  At this level, each team member should add at least one reflection.  List the member's name and then their comment.  (For example, "Pat: I liked learning that..."

2.  (Yes, each team member must have an entry!)
Homework #10:  Poster Draft (Due at class time, Tuesday, December 8, 2009)
The poster draft is a sketch that shows where you will place each of the required elements of your poster.  (See the poster presentation assignment, below).  The draft should be on plain (unlined) paper of any size 8.5"x11" or larger. 

On your draft, for each of the poster elements, either include a draft of the element OR sketch an outline showing its relative size, label it, and give a brief description.  For example, a block of space can be indicated as covering about 1/8 of the poster area, with the label: "specific map of our area (includes parts of xxx and yyy topographic quadrangles)".  Note that this is just an example! Your poster's elements will be of an appropriate size to show the necessary details for your study area.

For the draft of your poster, you do not need to turn in an "actual size" version: if you use 8.5 x 11 paper, though, you might consider outlining the spaces for elements on one sheet, numbering those spaces, and using an additional sheet of paper to give more room for descriptions of the elements that will be placed in each of those numbered blocks.

Your poster draft does not have to be typed, but it should be neat, so I can read the information!
Poster Presentation (10 a.m., December 17, 2009.  Poster must be set up and ready to go at exam time!)
Content:  Your poster presentation must include information--text, maps, illustrations, and/or photographs, as appropriate--on the following:

* Poster Title, indicating study area/topic name
* General location map
* Specific location map(s) [
You may find it helpful to use the USGS Map Locator (click "Download Digital Scans of Topo Maps"; also see NEIU Prof. Hemzacek's suggestions on downloading from this site) or GoogleEarth (]
* Significant geologic features, including information and photos
* Surficial geology of the area, including geologic origin
* Significant topographic features, including information and photos
* Significant water features (as appropriate)
* Evidence that humans are interacting with the geology in a non-random, non-coincidental way
* Photographic evidence that all team members were on the field trip together
* Photographic evidence that all team members were having fun!
* Citations and references
* Team name, and members' names


* Posters can range from the size of a single sheet of poster board (about 20 x 28 inches), to the size of a  3-panel "stand-up" poster (the type used for science fairs). 

* As you design your poster, consider the following:

w  Main elements (title, key graphics) must be visible and readable from a distance of 10 feet.  Use a big enough font!
w  The poster is a visual presentation, but must contain enough text to adequately explain and describe the images
w  Be creative to highlight important aspects: use color, etc. to make it interesting and to "draw in" the observer
w  Check out this website for suggestions about making effective poster displays.

Evaluation:  A grading rubric can serve as your checklist for your final poster presentation.

Homework #11:  What's Beyond NEIU?  (Due at class time, Tuesday, December 8, 2009.)
Log in to MyPlan at .  Read the paragraph to the right of the NEIU logo, then click "Create Free Account".  You will need to enter the NEIU license code (as given in class; if you were not in class send me an e-mail and I will send it to you).  Create an account for yourself; it takes just a few minutes. 

Once you are logged in, complete the four tests:  Personality Test, Interest Inventory, Skills Profile, and Values Assessment.  (Allow about 20 minutes for each test.) 

After you have finished each test, you will be able to read a report on your profile.  For each report, click "Printable View", and print the report.  Staple or clip all the reports together, and hand them in at class time, Tuesday, December 8, 2009.  This assignment is worth 10 points. 
Homework #12:  Your Top Career Choices  (Due at the time of your final exam!)
w  Print out the worksheet that appears here.

w  Log back in to MyPlan at , using the account you have already created. 
Click "Assessment", and then either "CareerMatch™" (near the top), or "Composite Score" (on the left hand side). 
Under "What Level of Education?", select either Level 4 (Four-year degree) or Level 5 (Graduate Degree), and click "Go!" 
A list of careers suited to your particular test results will appear.

w  Looking at the top 10 (or so) careers, choose two that interest you.  Click on the career title.  Then click "Summary",  and "Requirements" to find the information required on the worksheet.  This assignment is worth 4 points.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2009 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 10, 2009.