The Importance of Earth Science EducationEarth 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: Geography 15, Physical Geography
Course Description: This course will provide you with insights into the field of Physical Geography. You will be exposed to various subtopics including: the energy-atmosphere system; the water/weather/climate systems; the earth/atmosphere interface; soils/ecosystems/biomes, geologic time; earth resources; human geography/population growth; and geospatial technologies. This course will spend time teaching you to critically think as a geographer does in order to solve geographic and geospatial problems. You will be able to transfer these thinking skills to other areas of your life. Intended audience: this course is intended to satisfy general education requirements for non-majors as well as one of the first courses expected of geography majors.
Text: Please bring the text with you to class. There will be in class writing assignments on occasion that may require use of the text.
Tests/Exams: There will be two lecture 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.
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:
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, skit, slideshow, etc. - further details are given below). Each project is described in detail below.
In-Class Assignments: I ask that you bring paper with you to class each time we meet. The purpose 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, in-class writing assignments, surveys, evaluations, and other feedback I ask of you during the semester.
The primary goal of this course is to teach you 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 a classroom culture that promotes and supports that type of attitude.
Student Learning Outcomes (SLO's):
Poster Session Guide
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.
2. Poster Format
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 dates listed in the calendar. The poster session will be held during the scheduled lecture for those days. Posters will be turned in for credit at the end of the hour along with evaluations of all group presentations.
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!!
1. You will present research findings using a
combination of media forms to the rest of the class (research and format are described
Digital presentations are popular due to their effectiveness in communicating information. Platforms that incorporate video, audio, textual, graphic, animated, and other media forms are now 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 media form (i.e. video, slides, audio, text, maps, models, etc.). Remember, you are trying to: 1) learn new information; and 2) effectively communicate that information to others.
1. Project Ideas:
2. Possible Topics:
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:
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.).
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 demonstrations of sea floor spreading and subduction on models built by students, to short skits demonstrating earthquake preparedness, to videotapes of clearcuts and sedimentation problems.
Project Proposal Outline
Statement of the Problem:
Significance of the Problem:
Answer the questions circled below. Write your answers on the blank paper provided for you. Please remember to keep your answers to one page or less in length. I would suggest that you read the grading rubric over one more time before beginning.
Here are the midterm questions:
2. Discuss the Universe and Solar System. Include in your discussion what you learned more about the formation and expansion of the universe; types of galaxies and the Milky Way Galaxy; nuclear fusion within stars; star classification; measuring distant stars; the solar system/sun/inner planets/outer planets; and other objects. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
3. Discuss the Planet Earth. Include in your discussion what you learned more about earth as a planetary body; deep time; evolution and life on earth; structure of the earth; rocks and minerals; the rock cycle; and igneous/sedimentary/metamorphic rocks. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
4. Discuss Plate Tectonics and Tectonic Forces on earth. Include in your discussion what you learned more about the history and development of plate tectonic theory; layers of the earth; plate tectonic boundaries; the Wilson Cycle; hot spots; earthquakes; and volcanism. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
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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!
1.Discuss Weathering, Erosion, and Deposition (Chapter 6). Include in your discussion what you learned more about weathering; soil formation; weathering and climate change; mass wasting and classification; mitigating mass wasting; erosion; and deposition. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
2.Discuss Fluvial Processes and Systems (Chapter 7). Include in your discussion what you learned more about water distribution; streams & rivers; divides; wetlands; floods; and groundwater. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
3.Discuss the Atmosphere, Weather Processes, and Systems (Chapters 9 & 10). Include in your discussion what you learned more about the structure/composition/behavior of the atmosphere; the Greenhouse Effect; temperature cycles and distribution; local and regional wind systems; air masses and weather fronts; severe weather and weather hazards. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
4.Discuss Global Climates and Change (Chapter 11). Include in your discussion the difference between weather and climate, controls of climate, climate change in Earth history, short and long term changes, anthropogenic changes and what we can do about it. Also discuss how geoscientists study the planet to come to the conclusions they do. Finally discuss why you think it is significant to study these topics.
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“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.”