Earth Science 5
Physical Geology
Fall 2020

Instructor: Jeff Tolhurst, Ph.D.
Office
: Online
Office Hours by arrangement
Phone: (209) 588-5235 office (+ msg); (209) 588-5104 (fax)
Email: tolhurstj@yosemite.edu

Course Credit: 4 semester hours
Prerequisites: None
Day and Time: TuTh 8:00-11:05 am
Room: Online
Text:
The primary open source (free) textbook I'll be using for Physical Geology is:
  1.  An Introduction to Geology

by Chris Johnson, Matthew D. Affolter, Paul Inkenbrandt, Cam Mosher

2.  Physical Geology
(back up text by Steve Earle)

 

The Importance of Earth Science Education

Earth Science plays a unique and essential role in today's rapidly changing world. It is an integrated study of the Earth's history, composition and structure, its atmosphere and oceans, and its environment in space. A knowledge of Earth Science is important because most human activities are related to interaction with the planet Earth.

Basic knowledge about the Earth, then, is the key to development of an informed citizenry. The reasons for teaching Earth Science are numerous: 1) it offers experience in a diverse range of interrelated scientific disciplines; 2) it is closely related to your natural surroundings; and 3) it offers you subject matter which has direct application to your lives and the world around you. You need only step outdoors to observe and find relevance in concepts learned in the Earth Science classroom. Because it offers many opportunities to collect data, hypothesize, experiment, and draw conclusions, both within school and outside environments, Earth Science is a laboratory and activity oriented course. Earth Science integrates many principles of both physical and life sciences. It incorporates and presents concepts often not emphasized in other parts of the science curriculum, such as geologic time and the vastness of space.

The teaching of Earth Science allows all students to have a better science background with pertinent information about your surroundings. Daily, society is faced with environmental and economic concerns such as deforestation, mining issues, acid rain, water supply, the greenhouse effect, and waste disposal. Civilization is absolutely dependent upon utilization of Earth's energy, mineral, and human resources. Awareness of natural phenomena such as floods, earthquakes, landslides, volcanoes, tornadoes, and hurricanes also requires a knowledge of Earth Science.

Students who study Earth Science are better prepared to discuss issues and make informed, responsible decisions. The interdisciplinary curriculum of Earth Science develops and builds on skills learned in earlier courses and closely relates to your everyday experiences. It develops attitudes and problem-solving skills that will be useful throughout life. If tomorrow's adults are to make wise decisions about Earth and environmental issues, it is vital that today's students be given the opportunity to study Earth Science at all levels as an integral part of their school experience. (This statement is modified from the National Earth Science Teachers Association, September 13, 1988).


Course Expectations: Earth Science 5, Physical Geology

Course Description: This course will provide you with insights into the field of Physical Geology. You will be exposed to various subtopics including rocks & minerals, earth materials, plate tectonics, earthquakes, volcanoes, the hydrologic cycle, weathering and erosion, geologic time, earth resources, mining, etc. This course will spend time teaching you to critically think as a geologist does in order to solve geologic problems. You will be able to transfer these thinking skills to other areas of your life. Intended audience: this course is a general science class, intended to satisfy general education requirements for non-majors as well as one of the first courses expected of geology majors.

Text & Lab Manual: The text is an open source textbook. Labs will be self-guided activities with workflows given online, also open source. Further guidelines and materials will be given as the course progresses.

Tests/Exams: There will be two exams during the semester: one midterm exam and one final exam. Each exam is worth 20% of your grade.

Homework: There will be two forms of homework: 1) project work (discussed below); and 2) reading from the text & turning in written summaries called Abstracts.

Make-up Work: In the advent of extenuating circumstances (evaluated by me on a case by case basis), make-up work will be assigned (but only under such circumstances).

Grading Policy: Grades will be assigned based on the following criteria:

2 Tests = 40% (20% each)
2 Projects = 40% (20% each)
Labs = 10% (total of all labs)
Class Assignments = 5% (total of all activities)
Activism Points = 5% (total of all activities)


A grading curve will not be used to determine grades. Grades will be determined as follows:

A = 90-100%
B = 80-90%
C = 70-80%
D = 60-70%
F = < 60%

Projects: Two (2) group projects will be assigned during the course of the semester. The first will be a poster session - your research is presented to your peers via the poster format (further details are given below). The second project will be in the form of a multimedia project where your group presents information to the rest of the class on some aspect of physical geology. You will be asked to present this information using the media of your choice (i.e. video, slideshow, story map, etc. - further details are given below). Each project is described in detail below.

Class Assignments: The purpose of class assignments is to use writing to assess learning and for us to give one another feedback during the semester on such things as what strategies could help to improve the learning environment, what's working well, etc. Also the writing assignments will provide both cross-sectional and longitudinal data on the processes and content you will be acquiring - in other words, I'll be able to see what you've learned after a particular assignment, as well as what you've learned through the course of the semester.  Entries will include short, class writing assignments, surveys, evaluations, and other feedback I ask of you during the semester.

Activism Points: During the course of the semester you will be asked to do two different outside of class activities that promote the learning/understanding of physical geology.  Upon completion of the tasks you will be asked to present what you did in writing - no more than a half page - PROVING what you did.  Note: You will be unable to earn an "A" grade without completing these two tasks.  The first task must be completed before the midterm and the second one is due no later than one week before the Final Exam.  Examples of past Activism activities by students in earth science classes include: 1) presenting a poster board to elementary school students, family, or friends; 2) a field trip tolearn more about geology; 3) critiquing a video on geoscience or science related topic(s) (i.e. Nova or TLC videos online, etc.); 4) educating and/or raising awareness of friends and/or family members or others about geology (and PROVING it); 5) reporting on newspaper articles on geology related topics; 6) completing a Columbia College Field Geology class (register for Earth Science 35xx and completing the class - note that this would satisfy TWO activism activities); and, finally, a NEW example:

Log 2 (or more) EarthCaches from Tuolumne or Calaveras Counties. Go to www.geocaching.com and find one of the EarthCaches from user ccearthcaches, then follow the instructions to get credit for the EarthCache. Send an email to ccearthcaches with your answers and include your name and the class you're enrolled in for Activism credit.


Goals:

The primary goal of this course is to teach you to remain curious and to think critically in order to be able to make appropriate decisions that are based on logical analysis and sound reasoning. You will be given the opportunity to do this in the context of learning about the environment of the earth as well as the inter- and intrapersonal environment within the classroom and out in the field. One factor that could make the biggest difference in your success in this class might well be a sanguine, respectful attitude. It is my intent to create an online classroom culture that promotes and supports that type of attitude.
 

Student Learning Outcomes:

· By the end of the course you will be able to collect, compile, organize, transform, analyze, and make intelligent earth science decisions from analyzing raw geologic data.

· By the end of the course you will have worked cooperatively with a small group of peers to design and present two research projects to the public.

· By the end of the course you will learn to summarize scientific concepts using a scientific/technical writing style.

· By the end of the course you will demonstrate an understanding of the elements of critical thinking, the standards used to measure critical thinking, and the intellectual traits that you will further develop during this course.


Poster Session Guide

Objectives:
1. Present material using a poster format to the rest of the class (material and format are described below).
2. Work interdependently and cooperatively with group members during each phase of the project.

Poster Examples
10 Rules for Poster Presentations
Do's and Dont's of a Poster Presentation

Background: One form of information exchange between geologists is the poster session. It is designed to be a quick, efficient means for learning about the latest research. A written description of the idea or research to be presented (called an Abstract) is submitted to the scientific meeting review committee. If accepted, the poster is presented during the convention with other posters usually in a large conference room where the scientists convene and view the posters, discussing / critiquing the ideas with the presenters.

Expectations:
1. Poster Ideas
   A) pick a concept related to physical geology that you would like to learn more about
   B) choose a topic either:
     i) not covered in class; or
     ii) covered, but you'll cover it in more detail

2. Poster Format
   A) should have both textual and diagrammatic information (typed/wordprocessed text; neatly drawn graphics; etc.)
   B) should have a list of
references cited (list each source of information you used)
   C) should be professional (neat, clear, legible, high quality)

   D) Use the online citation machine: EasyBib.com

3. Presentations
   A) presentations will be submitted online via Google Draw
   B) your team will have approximately 15-20 minutes to present your findings

4. Groups
   A) 3 to 5 students per group
   B) divide responsibilities between group members
   C) group grade will be determined from:
     i) instructor review
     ii) grading rubric
   D) individual grade will be determined in the following manner:
     i) group grade = 100 points
     ii) individual grade = (group grade) X (# students in group), then group splits up these points as they decide is best for them

Example: 4 group members get 80/100 for their group grade. 4 X 80 = 320, so the group must decide how to divide the 320 points amongst themselves (i.e. 80 points each; or 90 points for two people that did more work and 70 points for two others that did less, etc.).

Deadline: The poster session is due to be presented on the date listed in the calendar. The poster session will be held during the scheduled lecture for those days. Posters will be submitted online via Google Draw

Support:
1. Research
   A) Online primary and secondary resources will be used.
   B) Within the community there are several consulting firms and governmental agencies that do geological consulting - contact them up and ask them questions.
   C) Other students and faculty at Columbia College may be able to help guide your searches.
   D) I will be available for help and consultation.

2. Materials
   A) Format will be digital; online resources will be the main source for your materials. If you have other needs, consult with me on an individual team basis.

Remember -- the main goal is to learn something new and to share your findings with others in the class. Pick something interesting and fun - and have fun being creative with this project!!

Information on Abstracts


    Multimedia Project Guide

    Objectives:

    1. You will present research findings using a combination of media forms to the rest of the class (research and format are described below).
    2. You will work interdependently and cooperatively with group members during each phase of the project.

    Background:

    Multimedia presentations are popular due to their effectiveness in communicating information. Computer applications that incorporate video, audio, textual, graphic, animated, and other media forms are mainstream in business, scientific, and educational applications. Research has shown that people acquire knowledge and information in a variety of modalities (eg. visually, auditorally, kinesthetically, etc.). In order to effectively communicate your research to your fellow classmates, you will design a project that uses more than one digital media form (i.e. video, slides, webmaps, audio podcast, text, posters, manipulatives, models, dramatic presentations, musical presentations, etc.). Remember, you are trying to: 1) learn new information; and 2) effectively communicate that information to others.

    Expectations:

    1. Project Ideas:
       A) pick a concept related to Physical Geology that you would like to learn more about
       B) choose a topic either:
         i) not covered in class
         ii) covered, but your group will research it in more detail

    2. Possible Topics:
       A) Fossil Fuels and the Environment
       B) History of the Earth/Break-up of Pangaea
       C) Seismic Waves and What They Tell Us About the Earth
       D) Landslides and Logging: Is There a Connection?
       E) Geology of the Mother Lode
       F) Earthquake Prediction
       G) Gold Mining in the U.S. (or other parts of the world)
       H) Earthquakes, Volcanoes, and Mammoth Lakes
       I) Groundwater Contamination/Remediation
       J) Fossils and Geologic Dating Techniques
       K) Population and Dwindling Resources
       L) Historic Tsunamis Around the World
       M) Historic Volcanic Eruptions Around the World
       O) The Greenhouse Effect or The Ozone Hole
       P) Fossil Fuels and the Environment
       Q) Climate Change and Geology
       R) Wildfires, Debris Flows, and Geology

    These topics are intended to motivate you to generate your own ideas; you may choose one of those above, or a different one. Make sure the scope of your topic is manageable for the given time allotment.

    3. Project Format:
       A) should have an Abstract (see rules for writing an Abstract below)
         i) a concise, informative summary/statement of conclusions reached
         ii) not more than 150 words
         iii) turned in to me at the beginning of the presentation
       B) should have two or more forms of the following media in the presentation:
         i) audio, video, slides, maps/storymaps, models, musical presentation, etc.
       C) should have a list of references cited (listing each source of information used; use the online citation machine:
    EasyBib.com
         i) any statement that is not general knowledge needs to be credited
         ii) do not just use online encyclopedias and textbooks
         iii) use primary (scientific journals (try Google Scholar), interviews with researchers) and secondary sources (books and review articles that deal with a specific topic)
       D) should be professional (clear, audible, legible, neat, high quality, etc.)

    4. Presentations:
       A) each presentation will be 8 to 10 minutes in length with time for questions afterward
       B) each presentation will be evaluated by me using the grading rubric provided

    5. Groups:
       A) there will be 3 to 4 students per group
       B) responsibilities will be divided among group members
       C) the group grade will be determined from:
         i) instructor input = 100%
       D) individual grades will be determined in the following manner:
         i) group grade = 100 points
         ii) individual grade = (group grade) X (# of students in group), then the group members split up these points as they decide appropriate (100 points maximum, 50 points minimum)

    Example: 3 group members get 80/100 for their group grade. 3 X 80 = 240, so the group must decide how to divide up these 240 points amongst themselves (i.e. 80 points each, or 90 points for two members that put in the greatest effort and 60 points for the third member that did very little (if that's what happened), etc.).

    Deadline:
    The project is given in the calendar.

    Support:
    1. Research
       A) Your open source textbook.
       B) Online - internet resources will be an important source of information.
       C)  Field - your team may wish to pick a topic where you can visit field locations to gather some of your data.
       D) Within the community there are several consulting firms and governmental agencies that do geological consulting - call them up and ask them questions.
       E) Other students and faculty at Columbia College may be able to help guide your searches.
       F) I will be available during my office hours for help and consultation.

    2. Materials
       A) Your project will be submitted digitally in Google Slides. Let me know what support materials your team might need for your project.
     

    Remember - the main goals are to:1) learn something new and to present it to others in the class; and 2) to work cooperatively and interdependently with your group members in an enjoyable, respectful, and polite manner. Pick something interesting and fun - and enjoy being creative with this project! Projects in the past have been quite interesting - ranging from video demonstrations of sea floor spreading and subduction on models built by students, to short video skits demonstrating earthquake preparedness, to digital slide presentations of clearcuts and post wildfire sedimentation problems.


Project Proposal Outline

Name(s):

Project Title:

Objectives:

Statement of the Problem:

Significance of the Problem:

Methodology:

Timeline/Task Schedule:

Budget:

Equipment List:

References:


Midterm Exam

Answer the questions circled below. Submit your responses before the due data listed in Canvas. Please remember to keep your answers to one page or less in length. I would suggest that you read the grading rubric + directions in Canvas over one more time before beginning.

 

Here are the midterm questions:

1. Discuss minerals. Give a definition and discuss how and where minerals form on Earth. Discuss the major groups of minerals and what makes them similar and different, as well as how mineralogists use the 7 physical properties of minerals to identify and distinguish minerals from one another. Finally, describe how we prospect for, locate, and extract minerals and explain the significance of minerals in everyday life.

2. Discuss igneous rocks. Include how and where on Earth magma and igneous rocks form, similarities and differences in the types of magma and igneous rocks, as well as a brief description of their classification. Include how we study igneous rocks and why it is significant to study them, including the hazards they pose as well as their benefits to society. Also discuss your understanding of the rock cycle and how igneous rocks fit into the cycle.

3. Discuss sedimentary rocks. Include how and where on Earth sedimentary rocks tend to form, similarities and differences in the 3 main types of sedimentary rocks, as well as a brief description of their classification. Include what your learned more about weathering, erosion, deposition, and soils and the connections with sedimentary rocks. Also discuss your understanding of the rock cycle and how sedimentary rocks fit into the cycle. Finally, include why it is significant to study these, including the hazards they pose as well as their benefits to society.

4. Discuss metamorphic rocks. Include how and where on Earth metamorphic rocks form, similarities and differences in the 2 types of metamorphic rocks, as well as a brief description of their classification. Also include how we study metamorphic rocks and why it is significant to study them, including the hazards they pose as well as their benefits to society. Also discuss your understanding of the rock cycle and how metamorphic rocks fit into the cycle.

 Grading Rubric

High-quality responses contain:

  • an overview of what you’ll discuss including a statement defining the main point

  • specific examples supporting your ideas

  • 2 or more carefully labeled diagrams depicting important processes

  • accuracy, clarity, precision, depth, and breadth when discussing content

  • good organization, well-developed arguments, few mechanical errors

  • a short, succinct conclusion summarizing the main points

Medium-quality responses contain:

  • an overview of what you’ll discuss

  • a general example supporting your ideas

  • one or more diagrams poorly labeled

  • a few accurate statements (some inaccurate statements); less clarity, precision, depth, breadth content being discussed

  • loosely organized thoughts, moderately developed arguments, some mechanical errors

  • an unorganized conclusion/summary

Lower-quality responses contain:

  • no (or a poor) introductory overview

  • no (or minimal) examples supporting your ideas

  • no diagrams, or diagrams with no labeling

  • inaccurate statements, lack of clarity, precision, depth, breadth of the content discussed

  • disorganized thoughts, weakly developed arguments, some mechanical errors

  • a weak conclusion that doesn’t summarize the main points

Lowest-quality responses contain:

  • no overview

  • no examples

  • no diagrams

  • inaccurate statements; no clarity, precision, depth, breadth of content knowledge

  • unorganized, undeveloped arguments, mechanical errors throughout

  • no conclusion


Final Exam

Please answer the questions circled below. Keep your responses limited to one side of one page for each question - anything longer than one page will not be assessed. You may not use any notes or other materials during the test - it is closed book. I will be available to answer any questions you might have. Good luck!
 

Here are the final exam questions:

1. Discuss  mass wasting and streamsInclude in your discussion types of mass wasting, causes & effects, what we can do about it. Also include what streams are, how they relate to the hydrologic cycle, their behavior and what we can do about causes & effects of flooding. Finally discuss the connections between the two processes as well as why it is significant to study each topic.

2. Discuss earthquakes. Include in your discussion what they are, why they occur/causes, how they relate to plate tectonics, how they are measured and located, the hazards associated with them, and what effects they have on lives and property. Include how and why we study earthquakes.

3. Discuss the theory of plate tectonics. Include in your discussion a brief history of how the theory came to be as well as the evidence that supports it. Discuss how we study plate tectonics and describe how the theory explains how the earth behaves. Include why it is significant to learn about plate tectonics.

4. Discuss population growth, climate change, and geologic resources.  Include your understanding of the main principles and concepts related to population growth, global warming/climate change, finite resources, and the interrelationships between them.  Also discuss any cause and effect relationships you consider important. Include in your discussion why it is important/significant to learn about these topics.

Grading Rubric

High-quality responses contain:

  • an overview of what you’ll discuss including a statement defining the main point

  • specific examples supporting your ideas

  • 2 or more carefully labeled diagrams depicting important processes

  • accuracy, clarity, precision, depth, and breadth when discussing content

  • good organization, well-developed arguments, few mechanical errors

  • a short, succinct conclusion summarizing the main points

Medium-quality responses contain:

  • an overview of what you’ll discuss

  • a general example supporting your ideas

  • one or more diagrams poorly labeled

  • a few accurate statements (some inaccurate statements); less clarity, precision, depth, breadth content being discussed

  • loosely organized thoughts, moderately developed arguments, some mechanical errors

  • an unorganized conclusion/summary

Lower-quality responses contain:

  • no (or a poor) introductory overview

  • no (or minimal) examples supporting your ideas

  • no diagrams, or diagrams with no labeling

  • inaccurate statements, lack of clarity, precision, depth, breadth of the content discussed

  • disorganized thoughts, weakly developed arguments, some mechanical errors

  • a weak conclusion that doesn’t summarize the main points

Lowest-quality responses contain:

  • no overview

  • no examples

  • no diagrams

  • inaccurate statements; no clarity, precision, depth, breadth of content knowledge

  • unorganized, undeveloped arguments, mechanical errors throughout

  • no conclusion


“For students with disabilities, (i.e. physical, intellectual, emotional, social, spiritual, occupational, financial, etc., in nature), who believe that they may need special accommodations in this class, I encourage you to discuss options with me within the first 10 days of instruction.”