Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University


ESCI 121
Spring 2009
Section 05

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:      773/442-6051         Office:  During office hours, I will be in S-130, unless otherwise announced. 
        Office Hours:  Tuesdays  1:40 pm-2:30 pm, 4:30-5:00 pm, 8:10 pm-9:45 pm
                                   Thursdays 1:35 pm-2:30 pm; 4:30-5:00 pm; 7:20 pm-8:00 pm
Class meeting times: 2:50-4:30 pm, Tuesday and Thursday, Room S-120.

Course Prerequisite: MATH 102 (Intermediate Algebra)
Course Website:
Text:  No single textbook is required.  However, each student should have access to a general geology textbook (or physical geology textbook) published by a scientific 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.

JAN 13  Introduction to the study of Earth Science.  Pre-course assessments.       JAN 15  Earth's internal structure.  Density.  World map due (HW #2).  Using our class wiki.
JAN 20  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  World map /geotectonics research due (HW#3).  JAN 22  Geotectonics. 
JAN 27  Class canceled due to ComEd power outage. JAN 29  Geotectonics.  Mineral properties and investigation tools.  "Rock Your State!" due (HW #4).
FEB  3  Mineral properties and classification. FEB 5  Exam #1.  Get the review sheet here!
FEB 10  More minerals.  Rock Your State in-class work.   FEB 12  Lincoln's Birthday; no class.
FEB 17  Rock Your State in-class work, cont'd.  FEB 19  Sedimentary minerals and rocks.
FEB 24  Exam #2.  Get the review sheet here! FEB 26  Sedimentary Rocks, cont'd. 
MAR  3  Igneous minerals and rocks, cont'd.  Metamorphic minerals and rocks.    MAR  5   The Rock Cycle.  Revisiting "Rock Your State!" and global geotectonics.
MAR 10  The Rock Cycle.  Maps, latitude and longitude.  Volcanoes.  Get to Know a Volcano! due.  MAR 12  Volcanoes. 
MAR 17   Earthquake maps in living color! due.  Campus field trip. MAR 19  Exam #3.  Get the review sheet here!
MAR 24  Spring Break; no class MAR 26  Spring Break; no class
MAR 31  Volcanoes.  Earthquakes: focus, epicenter, and earthquake maps from the USGS. APR  2  Measuring earthquakes, finding the epicenter, tsunamis. and global geotectonic boundaries.  See the homework page for the Weather Tracking assignment and an extra credit opportunity.
APR  7  Earthquakes and seismograms.  APR  9  Topographic maps. Seismograms.
APR 14   Topographic maps, continued.  APR 16  Topo maps, continued.  Earthquake wave velocity.
APR 21  Earthquakes, one last time.  Streams and flooding.  Watershed, drainage basin, divide.     APR 23  Analyzing stream graphs.  Analyzing weather data.  All weather tracking assignments are due today.
APR 28  Weather: fronts and forecasting.  APR 30  Geologic time scales.  Presentations due.

MAY 5  Note the unusual time!  2:00-3:50 pm  Exam #4.  Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact me before January 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.  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 April 3.

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):   32%         
    Four exams (weighted equally):                                               68%         

* 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 2009 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated April 23, 2009.