ESCI 121
Fall 2010
Section 06

Course Syllabus

w The outline below will be updated daily.  Check frequently for changes!  

Complete the readings before class on the day shown.

For daily learning objectives, click the date.  Links will be added daily as the semester progresses.

Text:  No specific textbook is required.  However, each student must have a general geology textbook (or physical geology textbook) published by a scientific or academic publisher in the last 8 years.  One example is Tarbuck and Lutgens, Earth Science, 11th edition (Prentice Hall, 2006).  Other readings will be provided, posted on the web, or posted on the class wiki

CLASS ACTIVITIES  (Click the date for a list of daily learning objectives!)

(Class meeting time:  5:40-7:20 pm)
(Class meeting time:  5:40-7:20 pm)
AUG 31  Introduction to the study of Earth Science. SEP   2  Using our class wiki.   Topography, rock deformation, Earth's internal structure.  World map due (Homework #1)Homework #2 is due by 2:00 p.m. Friday, Sept. 3!
SEP   7  Earth's internal structure, contd.  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  Geotectonics research due (Homework #3) SEP  9  Density.  Geotectonics: continental and oceanic plates and boundaries. 
SEP 14  Geotectonics: finding patterns. SEP 16  Geotectonics.  Rocks and minerals.  Mineral properties and investigation tools.  Homework #4 "Rock Your State!" is due.
SEP 21  Mineral properties and classification.  Using a mineral key.  SEP 23  Exam #1. 
SEP 28  More minerals.  Rock Your State in-class work.   SEP 30  Rock Your State in-class work, cont'd.
OCT   5   Rock Your State in-class work, cont'd.   OCT   7   Igneous rocks, continued. 
OCT 12  Sediments and sedimentary rocks. OCT 14    Metamorphic rocks. 
OCT 19   Exam #2. OCT 21  The Rock Cycle, and putting it all together.  How do they fit into the big picture of global geotectonics?  Volcanoes.  Intro to the Rock Your State Geologic Point of Interest assignment.
OCT 26  Maps, latitude and longitude. OCT 28  Rock Your State geologic Points of Interest assignment due (Homework #6A).    Earthquakes: focus, epicenter, and measuring earthquakes.
NOV  2  Earthquake maps in living color! assignment 6B is due NOV  4  Finding the epicenter of an earthquake.  Tsunamis. 
NOV 9  EQ epicenters and tsunamis, continued.  See the homework page for the Weather Tracking assignment. NOV 11  Exam #3.  NOV 12  Last day to drop a course.
NOV 16  Topographic maps.  NOV 18  Topographic maps and streams.
NOV 23  Topo maps and streams, continued.  NOV 25  Thanksgiving.  No class. 
NOV 30  Weather: air masses and fronts.   DEC  2  Class canceled.
DEC   7  Weather: air masses, fronts, and precipitation.  All weather-tracking maps are due today! DEC  9  Weather: highs, lows, and forecasting.  Course evaluations.

DEC 14  Exam #4.  Note the unusual time!  6:00-7:50 pm.  Please check right away for conflicts with your other scheduled exams, and contact me before Sept 20 if you find a conflict.   


Instructor:  Dr. Laura L. Sanders (website)
E-Mail (the fastest way to reach me!):  
   L-Sanders (at)
Voice Mail: 

 During office hours and in general, you can find me in S-130/132. 
            Mail may be left for me in the envelope on the door to S-130.

Office Hours: 
Tuesday 12:00-1:00 pm; 7:20-7:50 pm;
                      Thursday 12:00-1:00 pm; 7:20-7:50 pm;
                      Friday 9:30-10:00 a.m., 1:20-1:50 pm (in S-120 or 114)
                      or by appointment.

Evaluation and Grading
Homework (approximately 7-8 assignments; missed or late assignments are subject to the policy described in this syllabus) 24 %
In-Class Work (missed assignments cannot be made up; generally graded a+, a, a-)   8 %
Four exams (weighted equally, 17% each) 68 % 

Grading Scale:   A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F 59% and lower.

w Attendance at all class sessions is expected.  The NEIU policy on class attendance, published in the NEIU catalog, applies to this course.  Frequent in-class assignments will be given and cannot be made up. 

w All course requirements must be completed to pass the course. 

w Students should check e-mail at least every two days to watch for course announcements and updates.

Late homework assignments will not be accepted unless there is an approved reason for missing the deadline, and only if I approve the excuse before the assignment is due.

Make-up exams will be permitted only in a case where there is an approved reason for missing the exam, and 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.

Grades will be posted on Blackboard, but the official gradebook will be kept by the instructor.  Please check your scores on Blackboard and let the instructor know of any discrepancy.

w Students should bring the following to every class meeting: notebook, handouts, pencil and eraser.  Also bring your textbook if possible.

w Please participate in all course assessments: anonymous "minute papers", ungraded quiz-type questions, concept maps, or survey-type questions.  This information will help me determine the extent to which the course is meeting its goals.  To provide the most information so that I can improve the course, I ask that you give your most thoughtful, honest feedback--the more, the better.

w 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 as the semester evolves.  Check this page frequently for updates!
COURSE DESCRIPTION  (From the NEIU catalog.)
Introduction to Earth Science, 3 cr.  Basic concepts of geology, meteorology, oceanography, and the solar system.  Discussion of topics of current interest in the earth sciences.  Laboratory involves the study of minerals, rocks, maps, and weather instruments. Lecture 2 hours, lab 2 hours.  Course Prerequisite: MATH 102 (Intermediate Algebra).  This course satisfies the General Education Program Natural Science Laboratory requirement.
COURSE GOALS:  Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to
w Use real-time data from publicly-accessible scientific monitoring stations to analyze Earth processes.
w Describe the processes involved in geotectonics and tell how they relate to geologic phenomena such as earthquakes, volcanoes, mountain building, continental movements, and the development of landscapes.
w Explain the relationships between atoms, compounds, minerals, and rocks.
w Use the techniques and tools of mineral and rock identification. 
w Describe the rock cycle and the processes involved in the cycle.
w Describe the geologic time scale and explain how relative and absolute age dating are used.
Use topographic maps and geologic maps.
w Describe the hydrologic cycle and the processes involved in the cycle.
w Use weather maps to predict the weather.




Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2010 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 7, 2010.