Department of Earth Science |Northeastern Illinois University


ESCI 121
Spring 2007


 Instructor Contact Information

  Outline of Topics
Course Goals and Requirements

 Evaluation and Grading


Instructor Contact Information:

Dr. Laura L. Sanders              Office: S-142
        Phone:      773/442-6051                        Fax: 773/442-5710 [Write my name on the cover page!]
        E-Mail:     L-Sanders (at)
        Office Hours:   Monday        1:30-2:00 pm and 3:50-4:20 pm     Tuesday      4:05-4:35 pm and 6:55-7:25 pm
1:30-2:00 pm and 3:50-4:20 pm     Thursday     4:05-4:35 pm and 6:55-7:25 pm                           
                                    Class meeting times: 2:00-3:50 pm, Monday and Wednesday

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 the date.  Links will be added as the semester progresses.

JAN   8  Introduction to the study of Earth Science.  Read: Preface, p. 1-5.   JAN 10  Large-scale patterns in Earth's surface.  Read: Chapter 8.
JAN 15  Martin Luther King, Jr. Day; no class
JAN 17  Plate tectonics.  Read: Chapter 8.
JAN 22  Plate tectonics.  Read: Chapter 8. JAN 24  Minerals.  Read: Chapter 2.
JAN 29  Minerals, continued.  Read: Chapter 2.  JAN 31  Exam #1.  Get the review sheet here!
FEB   5 Minerals, contd.  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks.  Read: Chapter 3. FEB   7  Sedimentary Minerals and Rocks, contd. Read: Chapter 3. 
FEB 12 Lincoln's Birthday; no class. FEB 14  Igneous Minerals and Rocks. Read: Chapters 3 and 9.
FEB 19 Igneous Minerals and Rocks, contd.  Volcanoes.  Read: Chapter 9. FEB 21  Igneous Rocks, contd.  Volcanoes, contd.  Read: Chapter 9.
FEB 26  Metamorphic Rocks.  Read: Chapter 9.  The Rock Cycle. FEB 28  Exam #2.  Get the review sheet here!
MAR   5 Maps.  Read: p. 684-5.  Earthquakes.  Read: Chapter 7.
MAR   7  Earthquakes.  Read: Chapter 7.
MAR 12 Earthquakes and tsunamis.  Read: Chapter 7. 
MAR 14  Earthquakes and Plate Boundaries.  Read: Chapter 7. 
MAR 19 SPRING BREAK; no class. MAR 21  SPRING BREAK; no class.
MAR 26 Wrap up earthquake map exercise; Campus Field Trip.  MAR 28  Topographic maps. 
APR   2 Topographic Maps, continued.
APR   4  Exam #3.  Get the review sheet here!
APR   9  The Hydrologic Cycle.  Read: Chapter 5. APR 11  Streams and hydrographs.  Read: Chapter 5.
APR 16  Streams and hydrographs, contd.  Read: Chapter 5. APR 18  What do hydrographs tell us about watersheds? 
APR 23  Ground water: using the ground water "sand tank" model.  Read: Chapter 5. APR 25  Ground water: determining ground water flow directions.
APR 30  Weather and forecasting.  Read: Chapters 17-18. Thursday, MAY 3, 2:00-3:50 pm.  Note the unusual day!  Exam #4.  Please check right away to see if this conflicts with any other of your scheduled exams, and contact me before Jan 17 if you find a conflict. 
Get the review sheet 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 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.  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.  All course requirements must be completed to pass the course.  The final date to drop the course, per University policy, is Friday, March 30.

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, at the end of the class period, 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:                                    28%          Late homework assignments will not be accepted. 
    Four exams, weighted equally:   72%         
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.
* Homework assignments will include in-class assignments as well as those done outside of class.
* 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

© 2007 Laura L. Sanders.  Last updated April 30, 2007.