Chicago's Environmental Geology
Earth Science 109W,
The outline below will be adjusted daily. Check frequently
Field trips are required class activities. You must
be present and dressed appropriately for the weather.
For daily learning objectives, click the date. Links
will be added weekly as the semester progresses.
(Click the date for a list of daily learning objectives!)
Class meeting time: Friday, 1:00 a.m.-4:20 pm
JAN 14 Welcome to NEIU! What is FYE? What are
environmental geology and the Muddy Waters course? The
Topography of the Chicago region.
Topographic maps. How does water get out of town?
Team-building for success.
JAN 21 Intro to lab safety. Water quality
intro to measuring field parameters
DO, pH, temp, and electrical conductivity. Natural sources and
natural geochemical changes (oxidation/reduction, dilution/mixing,
precipitation/dissolution). Human/urban effects on water quality.
The NEIU detention basin.
Strategies for analyzing web/text readings.
Evaluating web-based information.
Academic integrity and plagiarism. Is there snow? If so, we
might analyze some! Read
Chapters 1 and 5 in the CSS book before coming to class today.
JAN 28 Watersheds. Urban effects on the hydro cycle.
Goal-setting and team-building (wall climbing).
Topographic maps, watersheds, and snow. Map-reading to find flow directions.
The Chicago "Big Map".
FEB 11 Lincoln's Birthday Holiday; no class.
FEB 18 Intro to keeping a field notebook (keeping scientific records).
Intro to collecting water samples.
Making field observations.
Sulfate and chloride measurement. Collect water samples at the Central
Park Bridge. Planning your future:
Academic Planning (Bob
Bring the NEIU Catalog to class with you.
FEB 25 Principles of
Measuring chloride and sulfate in the lab. Keeping field notes.
Gradient. Measuring gradient using topographic maps and telescopic
levels. Dilution of water samples to get them
into analytical range.
Collect water samples at the river confluence.
Water analyses using colorimetry.
MAR 11 Ground water: what is it?
Intro to ground water sampling.
Measure well water levels.
Sample and analyze well water.
Using surveying techniques.
a small local watershed (Gompers Park).
MAR 25 Spring Recess; no class.
Analyzing data from Gompers Park. Sampling ground water.
Finding precipitation data. What is beyond NEIU? Preparation
for career planning.
Last day to drop a course.
Intro to stream processes.
Stream discharge; principles of measuring discharge.
Field measurement of discharge.
Analysis of discharge measurements.
APR 15 Intro
to field sampling and field description of soils. Soils: Grain size
and permeability. On
Looking for cutbanks and point bars?
Measuring stream discharge.
Quantifying the hydrologic cycle (working with depth, area, volume, flow
Field trip to Lake Michigan.
Locks, dams, and canals.
Field trip to the SCSE. Planning
your future: what is beyond NEIU?
Career planning: guest speaker.
Group Presentations. Write a letter to a Muddy Waters student. FYE
MAY 6 River/lake field
trip. Note extended class
period: 1:00-5:00 pm. Course evaluations. (Grades are due at midnight, Tuesday, May
Bring these to every class session.
Strategies", by Sherrie L. Nist-Olejnik and
Jodi Patrick Holschuh, custom edition for NEIU, Pearson Custom Publishing, 2010.
Additional readings: Some
readings will be provided in class or via Blackboard; you must check
this online syllabus to stay updated.
field notebook, pen/pencil,
text, and any handouts or homework papers you might need.
Appropriate attire for the day's activities.
Grading and Evaluation
Attendance at all class sessions is required.
Attendance is part of the course grade. The NEIU policy on class
attendance (see the NEIU Catalog) applies to this course.
In accordance with university policy, less than 75% attendance will
automatically result in a failure for the semester, regardless of your
grade for assignments.
If you absolutely must miss a class, please notify
the instructors in advance, if possible, or as soon thereafter as you
can. To learn what you missed, first check the web page,
and then get notes from at least two classmates.
All course requirements must be completed to pass the
The final date to drop any Fall 2010
course, per University policy, is
Students are expected to check e-mail and the course
website at least every other day to watch for course announcements
NEIU policy on
academic misconduct will be strictly enforced. A
Indiana University 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.
A large part of this course involves
working in small groups. A positive group dynamic depends
on your positive attitude and acceptance of diversity: other group
members will have diverse opinions, individual backgrounds, and work
styles. The ability to work well with others is an important skill
necessary in virtually all careers and in daily life. Whether or
not you have previously been exposed to group work, in this class you
will have the chance to build and enhance these skills--and have some
fun along the way!
Team citizenship may be a part of your grade on the semester
project or other group projects. The team score will be weighted
by individual scores assigned by team members to themselves and their
A copy of the Team Citizenship Evaluation appears here.
Students are expected to participate in
On some days, you will be asked to complete anonymous "minute papers",
ungraded quiz-type questions, concept maps, or survey questions.
This information will help the instructors determine the extent to which
the course is meeting its goals. To help make the course better,
please give your most thoughtful, honest feedback--the more, the better.
Evaluation and Grading
Attendance and participation:
Assignments (all homework, reports,
field notebooks, and in-class assignments):
* The grading scale is as follows: A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F
homework assignments will not be accepted
unless you communicate with the instructors
about the issue and they approve the request. Even with instructor
approval, late assignments may be docked points.
* Make-up exams will be
permitted only in a case where there is an approved reason for missing the exam. 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.
Flexibility: The schedule of activities will change several times per week as the
semester evolves. Check this page frequently for updates!
completion of this course, you will have demonstrated the ability to do
w work effectively as a team
member to research environmental geology issues of a specific area, in
particular with respect to the scientific investigation of soil and
water, interpreted in the context of Chicago regional geology.
apply a scientific method for geologic field and data interpretation,
utilizing time management strategies, critical reading and analysis, and
written/oral presentation skills in the synthesis and interpretation of
Toward this final goal, successful completion of course elements will
enable you to:
Compile an organized record of data and supporting information from
various sources (field and laboratory experiences, class presentations,
readings, and research), optimized for your individual learning style.
Distinguish changes to the landscape effected by stream, lake, and
coastal processes; critically analyze patterns of change in soil and
bodies of water to predict continuing/ future changes from these forces.
Evaluate the impact of geologic factors on human activities (including
water and waste management, storm water and sewage treatment/control,
construction, etc.) in Chicago, and the effect of human activities on
analyzed parameters of water quality and soil characteristics.
Apply strategies to maximize achievement of your short-term and
long-term academic goals through self-knowledge, successful navigation
of the university environment, and effective planning.
|Chicago's vital bodies
of water--Lake Michigan, Chicago River, and others--interact with the
urban landscape and the soils and rocks of the ground beneath us. These
interactions influence environmental issues in our everyday lives,
"What happens when water goes down the drain?" and
certain areas flood after it rains?" Explore these questions in
the context of Chicago's geology, to evaluate the critical interactions
affecting soil and water contamination, flooding, and our drinking
water. Laboratory analysis of water and soil, collected on local field
trips, will clear the
"muddy water" about how environmental geology
impacts your neighborhood. ESCI 109W meets the
NEIU General Education requirement of a laboratory Natural Science
Muddy Waters is supported by the National
Science Foundation program
Opportunities for Enhancing
Diversity in the Geosciences
Department of Earth Science
| Northeastern Illinois University
Copyright 2011 Laura L. Sanders. Last updated
April 22, 2011.
Dr. Ken Voglesonger
Dr. Laura Sanders
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