Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 121
Fall 2006

Course Syllabus 

 Instructor Contact Information

  Outline of Topics
Course Goals and Requirements

 Evaluation and Grading


Instructor Contact Information:

Instructor: Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-142
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710
E-Mail:     L-Sanders (at)
Office Hours:   Tuesday       3:00-5:00 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm
3:00-5:00 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm
                            Class meeting times: 5:40-7:20 pm, Tuesday and Thursday

Course Prerequisite: MATH 102 (Intermediate Algebra)
Course Website:
Tarbuck and Lutgens, Earth Science, 11th edition (Prentice Hall, 2006).  Other readings will be provided. 
Click here for the textbook's student companion site


* This outline may be adjusted daily as the semester proceeds.  Please check back frequently for updates. 
* Reading assignments listed here are for the Tarbuck and Lutgens textbook unless otherwise noted.
   Reading assignments should be completed before coming to class on the day listed.
* To see a list of each day's learning objectives, click on the date.  These will be added as the semester progresses.

AUG 29 Introduction to the study of Earth Science.  Read: Preface, p. 1-5.   AUG 31  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  Read: Chapter 8.
SEP 5  Plate tectonics.  Read: Chapter 8.
SEP 7  Plate tectonics.  Read: Chapter 8.
SEP 12  Minerals.  Read: Chapter 2.
SEP 14  Minerals, continued.  Read: Chapter 2. 
SEP 19  Exam #1.  Get the review sheet for Exam #1 here! SEP 21  Minerals, contd.  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks.  Read: Chapter 3.
SEP 26  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks, contd. Read: Chapter 3.   SEP 28  CLASS CANCELLED DUE TO INSTRUCTOR ILLNESS
OCT 3  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks, contd. Read: Chapter 3. OCT  5   Igneous Minerals and Rocks. Read: Chapter 3.
OCT 10  Igneous Rocks, contd.  Homework #1 is due today!
OCT 12   Exam #2.   Get the review sheet for Exam #2 here!
OCT 17 Volcanoes.  Read: Chapter 9.  OCT 19  Volcanoes, cont'd.  Homework #2 was done in class today.
OCT 24  Metamorphic Rocks.  The Rock Cycle.  Read: Chapter 3.
OCT 26   Earthquakes.  Read: Chapter 7. 
OCT 31  Earthquakes.  Read: Chapter 7. 
NOV   2  The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 5.
NOV 7    The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 5. NOV   9  Exam #3.  Get the review sheet for Exam #3 here!
NOV 14  Topographic maps. NOV 16 Topographic maps, contd.
NOV 21  Topographic maps, contd.  Streams and hydrographs. NOV 23  Thanksgiving; no class.
NOV 28  Streams and hydrographs.  Read: Chapter 5.
NOV 30  What do hydrographs tell us about watersheds? 
DEC 5  Ground water: using the ground water "sand tank" model.  Read: Chapter 5. DEC 7  Ground water: determining ground water flow directions.
DEC 12 Exam #4 6:00-7:50 pm.  Note the unusual time!  Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact me before Sept 15 if you find a conflict.  Get the review sheet for Exam #4 here!

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

*   Describe the processes involved in plate tectonics 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 basic geology of Illinois and the United States.
*   Describe the hydrologic cycle and the processes involved in the cycle.
*   Use weather maps to predict the weather.
*   Describe how earth science principles and concepts are used in everyday life.

Course Requirements Attendance at all class sessions is expected.  Students who do not attend regularly will not be given the benefit of the doubt in cases of borderline grades and may be downgraded to a lower grade at the instructor's discretion if absences are excessive.

Students are expected to have an e-mail account and to check their e-mail at least every other day.

Students should bring the following to every class meeting: notebook, handouts, pencil and eraser.

All course requirements must be completed to pass the course.  The final date to drop the course, per University policy, is Friday, November 10.

Students are expected to participate in all course assessments.  I want to learn how well certain concepts are getting across and how the class is feeling about the material and the course as we go along.  On some days, at the end of the class period, you will assess this, anonymously.  Assessments may be in the form of "minute papers", ungraded quiz-type questions, a concept map, 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.  Please allow for flexibility in topics and assignments.  Check this page frequently for updates!

Evaluation and Grading

Homework:                                    36%          Late homework assignments will not be accepted. 
Four exams, weighted equally:   64%         
No extra credit will be given.

The grading scale is as follows:  A 100-90%; B 89-80%; C 79-70%; D 69-60%; F 59% and lower.

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.

Department of Earth Science | Northeastern Illinois University

© 2006 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated December 5, 2006.