Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois U

ESCI 121
Fall 2010
Sections 05 and 06

This photo by NEIU Earth Science major Alexandra Cichon was a finalist in the Earth Science Week 2009 photo contest sponsored by the American Geological Institute.

Schedule of Activities

Homework Wiki

Instructor Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders  
        E-Mail (the fastest way to reach me!):  
   L-Sanders (at)
        Voice Mail: 
        Office:  During office hours and in general, you can find me in S-130/132. 
                       Mail may be left for me 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.
Class meeting times:
                Section 05:  1:15-2:55 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, Room S-120
                Section 06:  5:40-7:20 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, Room S-120

Course Prerequisite: MATH 102 (Intermediate Algebra)
Course Website:
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


* This outline will be adjusted daily as the semester proceeds.  Please check back frequently for updates.  
*  Reading assignments should be completed before coming to class on the day listed.
* Assignment due dates listed here are approximate; for more information check the homework page.

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

AUG 31  Introduction to the study of Earth Science. SEP   2  Using our class wiki.   Density.  World map due (Homework #1)Homework #2 is due by 12:01 a.m. this coming Sunday morning!
SEP   7  Density, contd.  Earth's internal structure.  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  World map /geotectonics research due (Homework #3) SEP 9  Geotectonics. 
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  Rock Your State!  Mineral properties and classification. SEP 23  Exam #1. 
SEP 28  More minerals.  Using a mineral key.  Rock Your State in-class work.   SEP 30  Rock Your State in-class work, cont'd.
OCT   5    It's Green Week! OCT   7  Rock Your State in-class work, cont'd.  Sediments, continued, and sed rocks, continued. Metamorphic rocks.  It's still Green Week!
OCT 12  Metamorphic rocks, cont'd.  OCT 14  The Rock Cycle, and putting it all together.  How do they fit into the big picture of global geotectonics?     
OCT 19  Exam #2.  Get the review sheet here! OCT 21  Volcanoes.  Maps, latitude and longitude. 
OCT 26  Rock Your State Points of Interest assignment due (Homework #5).    OCT 28  Volcanoes. 
NOV  2 Earthquakes: focus, epicenter, and measuring earthquakes.  Earthquake maps in living color! assignment is due NOV  4  Earthquakes: focus, epicenter, and earthquake maps from the USGS. Finding the epicenter of an earthquake.
NOV 9  Tsunamis.  Global geotectonic boundaries.  See the homework page for the Weather Tracking assignment and extra credit assignment. NOV 11  Exam #3. Get the review sheet here!
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.     NOV 23  Weather: highs and lows.  All weather tracking assignments are due today.
DEC   8  Weather: forecasting.  DEC 10  Weather: the global picture.  Course evaluations.

DEC 15  Exam #4.
Section 05 Only:  Note the unusual time! 
2:00-3:50 pm 

Section 06 Only:  Note the unusual time!  6:00-7:50 pm 
Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact me before September 20 if you find a conflict.   
Get the review sheet here!


Course Goals: Upon completion of this course, the student will be able to

Use real-time data from publicly-accessible scientific monitoring stations to analyze Earth processes.
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.
Explain the relationships between atoms, compounds, minerals, and rocks.
Use the techniques and tools of mineral and rock identification. 
Describe the rock cycle and the processes involved in the cycle.
Describe the geologic time scale and explain how relative and absolute age dating are used.

Use topographic maps and geologic maps.
Describe the hydrologic cycle and the processes involved in the cycle.
Use weather maps to predict the weather.

Course Requirements: Attendance at all class sessions is expected.  The NEIU policy on class attendance applies to this course.  Frequent in-class assignments will be given and may not be made up.  Students who do not attend regularly will not be given the benefit of the doubt in cases of borderline grades, and a lower grade may be given at the instructor's discretion if absences are excessive.  All course requirements must be completed to pass the course.  The final date to drop the course, per University policy, is November 2.

Students are expected to check their e-mail at least every other day to watch for course announcements and updates.

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

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.

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!

Evaluation and Grading

    Homework (includes in-class and at-home assignments):   40%         
    Four exams (weighted equally):                                               60% 

* The grading scale is as follows:  A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F 59% and lower.
* Homework assignments will include in-class assignments as well as work done outside of class.
* 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 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.
* 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.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

Copyright 2010 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated August 29, 2010.