Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University

ESCI 121
Spring 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-146
Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710
E-Mail:     L-Sanders (at)
Office Hours:   Tuesday       4:40-5:10 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm
  4:00-6:00 pm
4:40-5:10 pm and 7:20-7:50 pm
                            Class meeting times: 3:00-4:40 pm, Tuesday and Thursday

Course Prerequisite: MATH 102 (Intermediate Algebra)
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 will 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.
JAN 10  Introduction to the study of Earth Science.  Read: Preface, p. 1-5.   JAN 12  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  Read: Chapter 8.
JAN 17  No class.
JAN 19  Plate tectonics.  Read: Chapter 8.
JAN 24  Minerals.  Read: Chapter 2.
JAN 26  Minerals, continued.  Atoms and compounds.  Read: Chapter 2. 
JAN 31  The Rock Cycle.  Read: Chapter 3. FEB 2  Sedimentary Rocks.  Read: Chapter 3.
FEB 7  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks.  Chapter 3.  Get the review sheet for Exam #1 here.
FEB 9  Exam #1.  
FEB 14  Igneous Minerals and Rocks.  Chapter 3.
FEB 16  Igneous Minerals and Rocks, continued.
FEB 21  Igneous Rocks.  Volcanoes.  Read: Chapter 9.
FEB 23  Lab Quiz #1.  Volcanoes.  Read: Chapter 9.
FEB 28 Mountain building and Metamorphic Rocks.  Read: Chapter 10.
MAR 2   Mountain building.  Read: Chapter 10.
MAR 7   The Rock Cycle.
MAR 9  Earthquakes.  Read: Chapter 7. 
MAR 14   Earthquakes. Get the review sheet for Exam #2 here.
MAR 16  Exam #2.  
MAR 21 SPRING BREAK; no class. MAR 23  SPRING BREAK; no class.
MAR 28  The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 5.  Get the homework here; it's due on Tuesday, April 4.
MAR 30  Class cancelled.
APR 4   The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 6.  Streamflow homework due today.
APR 6    The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 6.
APR 11   Coastal processes. Read: Chapter 15.
APR 13   Coastal processes.  Read: Chapter 15.
APR 18   Weather and climate.  Read: Chapter 16.
APR 20  Weather and climate.  Read: Chapter 17.
APR 25   Weather and climate.  Read: Chapter 18. APR 27 Weather and climate.  Read: Chapter 19.  Geologic time.  Read: Chapter 11.
MAY 2 Exam #3 and Lab Quiz #4 2:00-3:50 pm.  Note the unusual time!  Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact me in the first week of the semester if you find a conflict. 

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 coastal processes.
*   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: textbook, 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, 17 March.

Students are expected to participate in all course assessments.  In addition to the course goals, each class day has its own goals.  Each day, you will receive a list of expected daily outcomes.  You also can find these from the outline of topics in this syllabus; just click on each date.  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.  At the end of each class period, you will assess this, anonymously.  On these “green sheets”, assessment questions will help me find out how well the day’s outcomes were achieved.  This may be done in the form of an ungraded quiz-type question, 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 integrity 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:                                            10%   Late homework assignments will not be accepted. 
Three exams, weighted equally:          45% 
Three lab quizzes, weighted equally: 45%
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 and quizzes 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 quiz begins.  Missed exams/quizzes that are not made up will result in a score of zero for that exam/quiz.

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 March 28, 2006.