Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois U

CHICAGO ROCKS!  Geology in the City
ESCI 109
Section 01
Fall 2009


Schedule of Activities

Evaluation and Grading Policies Homework

Instructor and Peer Mentor Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders  Peer mentor: Theodora Koumoutsakis  
E-Mail: L-Sanders [at]
Phone: 773/442-6051  
Office Hours:  TR 10:00-10:50 am, 1:30-2:30 pm, 7:20-8:00 pm, and by appointment.  
I will hold daytime office hours in S-130 and evening office hours in S-120.  (My official faculty office is S-225H.)                 

Dr. Sanders at the Hoover Dam, Arizona/Nevada

TKsakis [at]
T-Koumoutsakis1 [at]


Class meeting times: 10:50 a.m.-12:05 pm, Tuesday and Thursday
Class location: Room 120 in the Science Building

Course Website:

Required Texts and Materials

1) "College Success Strategies", custom edition for NEIU, by Sherrie L. Nist-Olejnik and Jodi Patrick Holschuh, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2009.

2) A Chicago-area street map: Maps may be purchased from a drug store, bookstore, auto club, or many other sites.  You will be asked to hand this in on September 10; thereafter you must bring it to class with you every day.

3) Chrzastowski, Michael.  2005.  Chicagoland: Geology and the Making of a Metropolis. Field excursion for the 2005 annual meeting Association of American State Geologists, June 15, 2005.  Illinois State Geologic Survey, OFS 2005-9.  This document is not available at the bookstore; more information will be provided in class!

4) Your NEIU planner (calendar).  Bring this to every class.


* This outline will be adjusted daily as the semester proceeds.  Check back frequently for updates.  
*  Reading assignments listed below are from the "College Success Strategies" book, and should be completed before class on the day shown.
*  Other assignments are given on the Homework page.
*  All field trips are required class activities.  You must be present and dressed appropriately for the weather.

*  To see a list of each day's learning objectives, click the date.  Links will be added as the semester progresses.

SEP 1  Welcome to NEIU!  What is geology?  What is FYE?  Skills, concepts, and stories in this course.  READ:  Chapter 1. SEP   3  Carved in stone: keeping scientific records.  Map your world: tools of the geologist.  Flattening a hill: how can we illustrate landforms?  READ:  Chapters 11 and 15.
SEP 8  Rock your world: Earth materials.  Homeworks #1 and #2 are due today.  READ:  Chapter 6. SEP 10  Set up your planner.  Observing rocks in the field.  Geology of the NEIU campus.   READ:  Chapter 2.  Homeworks #3 and #4 are due today. 
SEP 15  Rocks, continued.  Sediments: when rocks go to pieces.  READ:  Chapter 3.  It's Fall Into Fun Week! SEP 17  Soil:  Don't treat it like dirt.  READ:  Chapter 12.  It's still Fall Into Fun Week!  Bring some soil to class with you!
SEP 22  Planning your future: making an academic plan.   READ:  Chapter 5.  Bring an NEIU Catalog to class with you! SEP 24  Weather or not: Earth materials and weathering.  Strategies for successful reviewing.  READ:  Chapter 15.  Bring a rock to class with you!
SEP 29  Strategies for successful test-taking.  READ:  Chapters 16 and 17.  Planning for Thursday's field trip. OCT   1  Rocks from around the world--in NEIU's back yard.  The Bohemian National Cemetery.   MEET AT THE CEMETERY!
OCT   6  Class cancelled due to instructor illness.  It's Green Week! OCT   8  Exam #1.  Get the review sheet here.   It's still Green Week!
OCT 13  Miles of concrete...: where did our roads and buildings come from?  READ:  Chapter 10. Your Academic Plan is due today! OCT 15  A mile of ice...and tons of gravel: The glacial imprint on Chicago.  Geologic maps.  READ:  Chapter 8.  The real dirt on Chicago. 
OCT 20   How to find it: Using the NEIU Library to locate resources.  OCT 22  Topographic maps, cont'd.  Using the USGS Map Locator.  The Mega-Mosaic. 
OCT 27  Making much of maps:  Putting the information together.  What's inside a hill?  Geology of landforms.  OCT 29  Slope, relief, and the glacial legacy.  Teamwork and goal-setting for the rock wall. 
NOV  3  Glacial Chicago and the sluiceway. NOV   5  Teamwork and the NEIU Rock Climbing wall. 
NOV 10  Exam #2.  Get the review sheet here. NOV 12  Field trip to the Gompers Park Wetland: Solving an Urban Problem with Nature. NOV 13  Last day to drop a course
NOV 17  What's a watershed?  READ:  Chapter 7. NOV 19  Chicago's waterfall.  Measuring slope and stream gradient from topo maps. 
NOV 24  Geologic research and critical thinking.  Intermorainal areas.  Team planning. NOV 26  Thanksgiving Holiday; no class. 
DEC   1   Intermorainal areas.  Team planning.  Planning your future: what is beyond NEIU?  DEC   3  Stream gradients.  How much can you believe?  Using geologic websites. 
DEC   8  Measuring gradients using topographic maps.   DEC 10  How to measure a gradient using field instruments.  The story of Chicago's geology.  Piecing together our geologic past.  Course evaluations.

DEC 15  No class--this is Exam Week!  Check the class schedule to see if you might have an exam this day in one of your other classes.   

DEC 17  Exam #3.  10:00-11:50 a.m.  Note the unusual time!  Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact the instructor before September 8 if you find a conflict.  Group poster presentations and final exercise.  Get the review sheet here.

Course Goals:

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to

1.  Correlate specific types of earth materials, including regional bedrock and surficial deposits, and resources used in Chicago, to their geologic origins (environments and major geologic forces involved).
2.  Analyze the impact of past glacial processes on the geologic deposits and landscape of Chicago, through interpretation of map and field evidence; analyze map evidence to interpret basic topographic, geologic, and hydrologic features and processes of Chicago.
3.  Interpret changes to the landscape effected by stream, lake, and coastal processes; predict continuing/ future changes from these forces.
4.  Construct the story of Chicago's geologic history, by correlating information from your own class notes with geologic field and map data.
5.  Evaluate the impact of geologic factors on human activities (including water and waste management, storm water and sewage treatment/control, construction, etc.) in Chicago.
6.  Apply time management strategies, critical reading and analysis, geologic field interpretation, and writing and presentation skills in researching geologic characteristics of a specific area.
7.  Demonstrate additional student outcomes with respect to future planning, academic skills, self-discovery, and transitions, as listed in the Freshman Colloquium Course Matrix.

Course Requirements

w Attendance at all class sessions is expected.  Attendance is part of the course grade. 
w Students should bring the following to every class meeting: notebook, handouts, pencil and eraser, textbooks, Chicago street map, NEIU Planner.
All course requirements must be completed to pass the course. 
w The final date to drop the course, per University policy, is November 13.
w Students are expected to check their e-mail and the course website at least every other day to watch for course announcements and updates.
w Students are expected to participate in all course assessments.  On some days, you will be asked to complete anonymous "minute papers", ungraded quiz-type questions, concept maps, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me to determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide me with the most information so that I can make the course better, I ask that you give me your most thoughtful, honest feedback-- the more, the better.

Evaluation and Grading Policies

    Attendance and participation:                                                        15
    Assignments (includes in-class assignments and homework):     39%         
    Exams (three, weighted equally):                                                       36%       
    Group Project:                                                                                    10%

* The grading scale is as follows:  A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F 59% and lower.
* Late homework assignments will not be accepted
unless there is an approved reason for missing the deadline.
* Make-up exams will be permitted only in a case where there is an approved reason for missing the exam, and only if I approve the excuse before the regularly scheduled exam begins.  Missed exams that are not made up will result in a score of zero for that exam.
* Please note the schedule for the final exam and university policies governing final exams (inside the back cover of the Schedule of Classes.)  No exceptions will be made other than those allowed by this policy.

Academic integrity: 
The NEIU policy on academic misconduct will be strictly enforced.  A site from the University of Indiana explains and gives examples of plagiarism and provides helpful tips on how to avoid it.  Cheating on homework, exams, quizzes, or other course components will result in a score of zero for that assignment or more severe penalties, as described in the NEIU policy. 

Flexibility: This outline will change several times per week as the semester evolves.  Check this page frequently for updates!

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2009 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 12, 2009.