MUDDY WATERS: Chicago's Environmental Geology


Assignment #1:  Due Sep 8, 2010. Assignment #2:  Due by 8 pm, Tues, Sep 14. Assignment #3:  Due by 8 pm, Tues, Sep 21. Assignment #4: 
Gompers Field Report
Due by 8 pm,
Tues Sep 28
Assignment #5: 
Water Quality Parameters
Due Fri Oct 8
Assignment #6: 
Academic Plan
Due Fri Oct 22
Assignment #7:
Water Quality in River Park

Due Fri Oct 15
Assignment #8:  How to Recognize Plagiarism
Due Fri Oct 15
Assignment #9:
Stream Discharge Field Report

Due Fri Oct 22
Quiz Re-Do
Due Fri Oct 22
Town Hall Meeting:  Oct 21
Watch your e-mail for more info!
Assignment #10: Beach Sample Analysis
Due Friday, Nov 5
Assignment #11:  Graphing Beach Seds.  Due Tuesday, Nov 9 Assignment #12:  What's Beyond NEIU?  Due Friday, Nov. 19. Assignment #13:  Your Top Career Choices  Due Friday, Dec. 3.
Final Project:
Simple Water Budget: Part I

Due Dec 3
Final Project Handout
(was given out in class on November 12)

Advice on the Format and Content of the Final Project Presentation (as discussed in class on December 3) Grading Rubric for the Final Project Presentation (will be used during presentations on December 10)  
How notebooks and reports are graded:
Field notebooks:
w More information
w Grading rubric (.xls)
Field reports:
w Grading rubric (.xls)
Laboratory Reports:
w Grading rubric (.xls)
Assignment #1.  (Due by noon, September 8, 2010.) 

E-mail the instructors.  Follow these rules; for each rule you follow correctly, you will earn the number of points shown:
  w Send your message from the e-mail account you want us to use to contact you.  (1 point)
w Send one message to both instructors at the same time.  Do not send two separate messages! (1 point)
As the subject heading of the message, type "[your name] ESCI 109"  (Type your own name in the brackets.) (1 point)
w In the body of the message, write a few sentences responding to the following two items: 
  1) Tell us something about yourself.  This could be something about your family, your background, your career goals, your hobbies...whatever you would like us to know about you.  (1 point)

AND 2) How does geology affect your everyday life?  (1 point)
Assignment #2.  (Due by 8 pm Tuesday, September 14.) 

rite a field report based on our trip to make field measurements and collect water samples from the North Branch of the Chicago River at the Central Park Bridge.  Your field report should include the following sections:
Field Site Location:  Where is it? (2 pts)

Team Members:  With whom did you work? (2 pts)

Description of the Field Site:  What type of environment are we sampling from?  Describe the surrounding area (natural features?  houses?  parks?  office buildings?  industrial buildings?) (2 pts)

Field Conditions:  What time of day did the measurements and sampling occur?  What was the weather like?  What observations can you make about the river--is it high? Is it low?  Is the water clear or murky? What do the banks of the river look like? (3 pts)

Methods:  How did you collect samples?  What measurements did you make and how did you make them (what equipment did you use)? (3 pts)

Results:  How many samples did you collect? What were the results of your measurements?  (3 pts)

Writing, Grammar, and Spelling:  Field reports should be written so that another scientist can read it and understand what you did, where you did it, and what the results were.  Spelling and grammar are important!

Page limit:  One page.  Be sure all the required information is included!  Margins and spacing are your choice.

Electronic Format:  Email your report as a Microsoft Word Document to both instructors.

Assignment #3 is in three parts:
Due by 8 pm Tuesday, September 21:

Write a one-page field report for the surveying work we did on the hill outside on September 17.  Use the same format and sections you used for Assignment 2.  This week, though, instead of your sampling technique and results, you'll need to describe your surveying technique and results.  (See a link to the grading rubric at the top of this page.)

Electronic Format:
  Email your report as a Microsoft Word Document (.doc or docx) to both instructors.

Due by 8 pm Tuesday, September 21:

Write a one-page lab report for the laboratory analyses of chloride and sulfate we did September 17.
  a Instructions for your report appear here
a A grading rubric (use it as a checklist!) appears here

Due at class time on Friday, September 24: 

w An NEIU catalog, with the pages tabbed with sticky notes as described in class:  Earth Science, FYE, Graduation Requirements, FYE, your major, your minor (if any). 
Assignment #4:  Due 8 pm Tuesday, September 28. 

Write a field report describing our work at Gompers Park conducted on Friday, September 24.  Use the format given in the field report grading rubric, which you can link to at the top of this page.

Length of the report should not exceed two pages.
Assignment #5 Deadlines: Thursday, October 7 and Friday, October 8.
1)  Post your field data and lab data on the portal by 8 pm, Thursday, October 7.  Use the following format:   
Group Members
Site visited (1, 2, or 3)
     w pH
     w Conductivity
     w Dissolved Oxygen
     w Temperature
     w Nitrate
w Phosphate

2)  Read the materials describing the following water quality parameters:

3)  Create a report in MS Word document (.doc or .docx) format.  Name it [yourname_109W_HW5]Your report should be e-mailed to both instructors by class time, 10 a.m., October 8.  Bring a printed copy of your report to class on October 8. 

Your report should include the following:

A) Make a heading for each one of the six water quality parameters listed above (nitrate, phosphate, etc.), and then, in your own words, write a short paragraph on each parameter, summarizing its typical sources in surface waters.

B)  Make a heading for USEPA Drinking Water Standards, and do the following: 
  • Write a sentence stating what the USEPA means by "MCL".
  • Write a few sentences explaining what  Primary and Secondary Drinking Water Standards are and explaining the difference between them. 

You will find the answers to these questions at the web links given below, or you can search for your own resources.  The sentences you write must be in your own words!  Do not cut and paste.

C) For each of the water quality parameters listed in Question #2 above (nitrate, phosphate, sulfate, chloride, fluoride, and total dissolved solids), find out whether it appears on the USEPA's list of Primary or Secondary Drinking Water Standards.
D)  Make a table listing each of the water quality parameters listed in Question #2 above, showing what the MCL is for each one.  (For some parameters, there may be no MCL!  For these parameters, write "None".)  For each, note whether the MCL is Primary or Secondary.  Then, add one blank column.  Your table should look something like this:

Water Quality Parameter

MCL Is the Standard Primary, or Secondary? [leave this column blank]

E) E-mail the report to both instructors, and also print a copy to bring to class on Friday.
Assignment #6:  Your Academic Plan.  Deadline:  Friday, October 22. 

Construct and develop an Academic Plan for yourself, mapping out how you will complete your degree.  Blank copies can be downloaded here.  This assignment was discussed in class on October 8, and it requires you to meet with your academic advisor.  Your advisor will grade and sign off on it, but it may take two or three meetings before your advisor is satisfied.  Leave yourself plenty of time to schedule and hold meetings with them!
Assignment #7:  Water Quality in River Park.  Due Friday, October 15.

Each student will write a report summarizing the work the class did at the field sites in River Park.  Your audience will be the neighborhood association of Albany Park.  Specific instructions for the content and format of the report appear here. 
Assignment 8:  How to Recognize Plagiarism.  Due by class time, Friday, October 15.
Complete the online tutorial on "How to Recognize Plagiarism" at .  At the end of the tutorial is a quiz.  By scoring 100% on the quiz, you will earn a certificate.  Print the certificate and bring it to class with you on Friday, October 15.
Assignment 9:  Stream Discharge Field Report.  Due by class time, Friday, October 22.

Write a field report on our work measuring stream discharge in LaBagh Woods.  Your report should have all the usual sections and headings; see the grading rubric (at the top of this page!) for a list.  It also should include all the data your group collected this week.  You need not make complete discharge calculations at this time; we will do that in class on the 22nd.
Quiz Re-Do:  Everyone has the opportunity to re-do the last quiz, if they wish.  This is an open-book, open-note opportunity.  You can print a clean copy from this link.  If you choose to re-do the quiz, it is due in class on Friday, October 22.
Town Hall Meeting:  Watch your e-mail for another assignment!  It is related to Brian's announcement about the Town Hall meeting that will take place on Thursday October 21.
Assignment 10:  Beach Sample Analysis.  Due by class time, Friday, November 5.

Complete the analysis of samples from your beach transects.  Using a microscope or hand lens, identify 50 particles according to the handout that was distributed in class.  Bring your data with you to class on Friday!
Assignment 11:  Graphing Beach Sediments.  See this link for details.  Due Tuesday, November 9.
Assignment 12:  What's Beyond NEIU?  (Due Friday, November 19, 2010.)  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 the instructors an e-mail and we will send it to you).  Create an account for yourself. 

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. 
Assignment 13:  Your Top Career Choices.  Due Friday, December 3. 

  Print out the worksheet that appears here.
w  Log back in to MyPlan at , using the account you already created. 
w  Click "Assessment", and then either "CareerMatch�" (near the top), or "Composite Score" (on the left hand side). 
w  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.
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. 
Final Project Part I:  Simple Water Budget.  Due Dec 3.  This should be completed in the group you were assigned to in class.  Click here for more information.
Advice on the Format and Content of the Final Presentation (as given in class on December 3):

Your presentation should be given using PowerPoint or a poster format.

Length: no less than 20, and no more than 30 minutes

Everybody in the group must speak as part of the presentation.

Use no more than 25 words on a PowerPoint slide

If you use a poster format, font size must be at least 36 pt

For either posters or PowerPoint, make graphs/charts/text visible from the back of the room.

Speak loudly and distinctly so people can hear you from the back of the room. 

Use the following general outline:

Introduction (Title, Group Name, Team Members' names)


Describe the hydrologic cycle

            Describe the urban environment and how water cycle/budget are changed by urbanization


Overall water budget concepts


Group’s calculation (quantification of water budget)


What data did you use, and where did you get it (not “Google”!)

Did it balance?  Why or why not?  If anything is missing, what is it?


What data would you need to find to make it balance?  Estimate it.


How are chemical parameters changed by being in urban environment?

            (Your group picked this out of a hat.)


Hypothetical situations--the "what ifs".  For your assigned situation (you picked it out of a hat), describe the impact on the hydrologic cycle, your water budget, and your specific chemical parameters.  Give this some thought and pay at least as much attention to this as you paid to the "non-hypothetical" situations--each situation has different aspects to it that deserve special consideration.

           w  No pavement; very permeable soil

           w  All rainfall comes in 1-2 storms per year

           w  No sewage treatment plants

           w  No diversion from Lake Michigan

Grading Rubric for the Final Project Presentation (will be used during presentations on December 10):  The instructors will use this "scoresheet" for group presentations.  Use it as your checklist as you prepare for your presentation!

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2010 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 9, 2010.


Your Instructors:
Dr. Ken Voglesonger

Dr. Laura Sanders

Your Peer Mentors:

Brian Dix

Sarah Paulis