Approved by Faculty Senate

University Studies Course Approval

 

Department or Program: Geoscience

Course Number: 120

Course Title: Dynamic Earth

Catalog Description:

An introduction to geologic principles and the processes shaping planet Earth. Composition and distribution of earth materials; examination of internal processes and their relationship to the distribution of continents over time; surficial processes and environmental problems. Lecture and laboratory. Offered each semester.

 

This is an existing course that has previously been approved by A2C2 ___X__.

OR

This is a new course proposal _____. (If this is a new course proposal, the WSU Curriculum Approval Form must also be completed as in the process prescribed by WSU Regulation 3-4.)

Department Contact Person for this course: Dr. Cathy Summa

Email: summa@winona.edu

 

The proposed course is designed to satisfy the requirements in (select one area only):

Course Requirements

A. Basic Skills: (October 4, 2000)

______ 1. College Reading and Writing

______ 2. Oral Communication

______ 3. Mathematics

______ 4. Physical Development and Wellness

B. Arts & Sciences Core: (November 1, 2000)

______ 1. Humanities

___X__ 2. Natural Science

______ 3. Social Science

______ 4. Fine & Performing Arts

 

 

 

C. Unity and Diversity: (January 17, 2001)

______ 1. Critical Analysis

______ 2. Science and Social Policy

______ 3. a. Global Perspectives

______ b. Multicultural Perspectives

______ 4. a. Contemporary Citizenship

______ b. Democratic Institutions

Flagged Courses: (February 14, 2001)

______ 1. Writing

______ 2. Oral

______ 3. a. Mathematics/ Statistics

______ b. Critical Analysis

 

 

Approval/Disapproval Recommendations

 

Department Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

 

Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

Dean's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved ____* Date:______

 

Dean's Signature_______________________ Date______

*In the case of a Dean's recommendation to disapprove a proposal a written rationale for the recommendation to disapprove shall be provided to USS

 

USS Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

 

University Studies Director's Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

A2C2 Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved_____ Date ______

 

A2C2 Chairperson Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

Faculty Senate Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

 

FA President's Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

Academic Vice President's Recommendation: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

 

VP's Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

President's Decision: Approved_____ Disapproved____ Date ______

 

President's Signature_______________________ Date ______

 

 

The purpose of the Natural Science requirement in the University Studies program is to provide students with the tools to understand and be able to apply the methods by which scientific inquiry increases our understanding of the natural world.

GEOS 120 is presently taught in large introductory general-education lecture and laboratory sections (offered for 4 credits). In the scheme of the new USP, the format will not likely change, but it nonetheless addresses the major themes and outcomes of the Natural Science category. Because this course is taught by every faculty member in the department on a rotating basis, the details of the course and the order in which topics are covered may change from term to term but the following represents department consensus on content and pedagogical methods.

 

 

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

  1. understand how scientists approach and solve problems in the natural sciences;
  2. Students are given ample opportunity to understand how scientists approach and solve problems relevant to geology. They are taught the unique methods employed in interpreting and solving geologic problems. Theories fundamental to geology are developed in a historical context that illustrates both the way ideas have developed over time and how technological innovations have changed the types of data available to geologists. In the process, students learn about multiple hypotheses put forth by different scientists to explain the same set of observations. In this way, they are encouraged to view science not as a static body of facts but as an investigative method for understanding the natural world.

  3. apply those methods to solve problems that arise in the natural sciences;
  4. Students have the opportunity to apply basic geologic methods to solving some problems in the lecture section, and laboratory time is fully devoted to this process. In lecture, problem-solving activities range from short, in-class questions to more complex, often graphical problems presented for discussion. Laboratory exercises are longer and more complex and may involve integration of a series of concepts and methods learned in lecture. On exams and lab tests, students are asked to solve problems similar to those they have encountered previously. The problems are necessarily simplified when compared to those that face practicing geologists today because this is an introductory general-education course with no prerequisites (particularly in mathematics and physics). Given the level of the course, however, they are realistic problems that raise students’ awareness of issues relevant to the discipline.

  5. use inductive reasoning, mathematics, or statistics to solve problems in natural science;
  6. Students learn to use inductive reasoning in both the lecture and laboratory setting, but mathematics are employed primarily in the lab. In lecture, problems are presented that require interpretation of various types of information about the Earth according to basic principles of geology. One example is the analysis of a cross-section through complexly layered rocks to determine the order in which the different rock layers formed and the sequence of events which led to their current orientation. In the laboratory, inductive reasoning is used in exercises such as the identification of minerals and rocks and the interpretation of geologic and topographic maps. Mathematics is frequently employed as a tool to aid in the solution of geologic problems in the lab. For example, students use proportionalities and ratios, calculate gradients, measure the offset in earthquake wave arrival times, and determine earthquake location by graphical methods.

  7. engage in independent and collaborative learning;
  8. Although the lecture is delivered to a large group, students engage daily in short, collaborative problem-solving activities. Usually this is accomplished via formative assessment activities associated with each lecture topic such as the think-pair-share technique. In the laboratory, many exercises are designed as collaborative activities with students working in teams of two or four people. Independent learning is ensured by in-class lecture and laboratory exams.

  9. identify, find, and use the tools of information science as it relates to natural science;
  10. The current textbook comes packaged with a CD-ROM that illustrates to students some of the fundamentals of physical geology. Students are encouraged to use this resource to aid their studying and to access the course website that is maintained to provide an updated daily schedule, exam review sheets, and interesting links related to course material. As more students obtain laptops, the department is developing a plan to more fully incorporate technology into the curriculum as a whole and into this course in particular. Laboratory exercises in development involve students accessing live-time and historical geologic data on earthquakes, volcanoes, and rivers for use during and after the lab session.

  11. critically evaluate both source and content of scientific information;
  12. Through the problem-solving exercises described in parts b and c above, students critically evaluate scientific information. Problems posed in class and laboratory and on exams often require students to interpret geologic information and determine the validity of different hypotheses put forth by scientists or by the students themselves to explain observations.

  13. and recognize and correct scientific misconceptions.

Students bring many misconceptions about the Earth to this introductory geology class. These misconceptions are addressed by querying students about their current understanding of the concept. New information is then presented, and students are encouraged to actively participate in reasoning their way to a correct understanding. Exams test retention of these ideas.

 

 

Courses that satisfy the laboratory requirement in the Natural Sciences will additionally provide students the opportunity to practice scientific inquiry through hands-on investigations and to analyze and report the results of those investigations.

Because all students in the lecture section of the course also take the laboratory, full use is made of lab time to allow students to actively engage in solving geologic problems through hands-on activities and exercises. Lecture and lab topics are closely coordinated so that they reinforce one another. Examples of investigative exercises include the observation, testing, and identification of mineral and rock specimens, the construction and interpretation of geologic and topographic maps to gain understanding of geologic processes such as plate tectonics, and experimentation with a model aquifer to learn about groundwater flow. During each lab, students record their observations, analyzing their findings, and turn in their written results.

 

 

Sample Syllabus:

GEOS 120: Dynamic Earth

Fall 2000
lecture MWF 11:00-11:50 (PA 120)
lab H 10:00-11:50 or 1:00-2:50 (PA 102)
4 credits

 

About the Course

This class is an introduction to the way the Earth works. Through the term, we will investigate what the Earth is made of and how natural processes change both the face and interior of the Earth over time. Major ideas that govern the modern science of geology will be applied to solve basic geologic problems.

 

This course additionally qualifies as a University Studies course satisfying the outcomes of the Natural Science Category. If you successfully complete the course requirements, you will earn 4 credits toward completion of the Natural Science category of the University Studies Program, including the laboratory requirement.

University Studies Outcomes

The purpose of the Natural Science requirement in the University Studies program is to provide students with the tools to understand and be able to apply the methods by which scientific inquiry increases our understanding of the natural world.

 

These courses must include requirements and learning activities that promote students' abilities to...

a. understand how scientists approach and solve problems in the natural sciences;

b. apply those methods to solve problems that arise in the natural sciences;

c. use inductive reasoning, mathematics, or statistics to solve problems in natural science;

d. engage in independent and collaborative learning;

e. identify, find, and use the tools of information science as it relates to natural science;

f. critically evaluate both source and content of scientific information; and

g. recognize and correct scientific misconceptions.

Courses that satisfy the laboratory requirement in the Natural Sciences will additionally provide students the opportunity to practice scientific inquiry through hands-on investigations and to analyze and report the results of those investigations.

Course activities described throughout the remainder of this syllabus will be coded to the above list of outcomes by the corresponding letter. These outcomes will be integrated throughout course content—each new topic will be presented in a manner in which the student will be able to understand and apply the methods by which scientists approach and solve problems in the natural sciences, using inductive reasoning or mathematics (outcomes a-c). Common scientific misconceptions will be identified at the start of each topic, and class material will be directed toward correcting those misconceptions (outcome g). You will be asked to work collaboratively on certain in-class activities and laboratory exercises and independently on exams (outcome d). In-class assignments and work outside of class will require that you utilize the textbook, the textbook CD-ROM, and other sources to critically evaluate scientific information as it relates to geology (outcomes e, f). During lab, you will have the opportunity to engage in hands-on scientific investigation of geologic materials and data and will be required to analyze and report the results of your investigations (laboratory outcome).

 

 

Course Website

Course information, lecture and lab schedules, review sheets for exams, and interesting links related to geology are posted at: http://course1.winona.edu/rambers/dynamic/

Required Textbook

Monroe, J. S. and Wicander, R. (1998) Physical Geology. Wadsworth Publishing Co., 646 pp. and CD-ROM.

 

Course Requirements

Prerequisites: This course is designed to stimulate your thinking (outcomes a, b, c, f, g), but there are no prerequisite courses. If you can balance your checkbook, you can do all the math that will be required (outcome c). I will expect you to understand and apply fundamental concepts (outcomes a, b, c, e, f, g), rather than to simply memorize information, on exams. You should strive to achieve as complete and sound a scientific interpretation as possible by trying to integrate information across discrete chapters of the text.

 

Study Groups: Because scientific understanding does not usually progress in a vacuum—it is through discussions and arguments with colleagues that most advances stem—I encourage you to work in groups and to discuss your ideas and to work through confusing concepts with your classmates. One of the best ways to study and understand and learn is to form a small study group—quiz one another. Make up questions that you think I’d ask on the exam, and be certain you can answer them. If you can accurately explain a concept to your peers, then you can feel comfortable that you understand it. If you’re confused in doing this, you’re likely to be confused about the material. (outcome d)

Attendance: Attending class is essential for success in this course. Each absence means that you missed out on an important learning opportunity, and you are responsible for knowing what is covered and in class regardless of whether or not you are present. You cannot simply read the text and expect to get a good grade.

 

Labs: Lab attendance is required. No unexcused absences are permitted in laboratory without penalty. For each unexcused laboratory absence, your final grade will be reduced by 2%. Excused absences must by approved by the lab instructor prior to the session missed or accompanied by a note from the health center or another physician. Work missed during an absence must be made up because all laboratory exercises must be completed to pass the course.

 

Exams: Three lab tests, two in-class exams, and one comprehensive final will be given. Completion of all lecture and laboratory examinations is required in order to pass the course.

Grades:
Lab exercises 30% 3 Lab exams 15%
2 Lecture exams 30% Final exam 25%

Unless I inform you otherwise at some point during the term, final grades will be assigned based on the following scale: A = 90-100%, B = 80-89%, C = 70-79%, D = 60-69%, F = <60%.

 

Academic Dishonesty

The main reason to go to college is to learn (at least I think so). Because no one can learn for you, I expect you to do your own work. I will not tolerate dishonest behavior and will take appropriate measures to punish anyone caught cheating. At a minimum, all parties involved will receive a zero for the test or assignment on which cheating occurred. For more information, read WSU's policy on academic integrity found in the class schedule and on the web.

 

Disabilities

If you have a physical or cognitive disability, please come talk to me as soon as possible so that we can discuss how best to accommodate your needs.

 

Tentative Daily Schedule

 

Date Topic Reading
8/28/00 Introduction to course --
8/30/00 Introduction to geology Ch. 1
8/31/00 LAB: Mineral properties  
9/1/00 Minerals Ch. 2
9/4/00 Labor Day - NO CLASSES --
9/6/00 Minerals Ch. 2
9/7/00 LAB: Minerals  
9/8/00 Minerals "
9/11/00 Volcanoes Ch. 4
9/13/00 Igneous rocks Ch. 3
9/14/00 LAB: Test on minerals; igneous rocks  
9/15/00 Igneous rocks "
9/18/00 Weathering Ch. 5
9/20/00 Sedimentary rocks Ch. 6
9/21/00 LAB: Weathering & sedimentary rocks  
9/22/00 Sedimentary rocks "
9/25/00 Metamorphic rocks Ch. 7
9/27/00 Metamorphic rocks "
9/28/00 LAB: Metamorphic rocks; review for test  
9/29/00 Review for exam --
10/2/00 EXAM I --
10/4/00 Geologic time – stratigraphic principles Ch. 8
10/5/00 LAB: Test on rocks; geologic time  
10/6/00 Geologic time – relative dating methods "
10/9/00 Fall Break - NO CLASSES --
10/11/00 Geologic time – absolute dating methods "
10/12/00 LAB: Earthquakes  
10/13/00 Earthquakes Ch. 9
10/16/00 Earthquakes "
10/18/00 Earth’s interior Ch. 10
10/19/00 LAB: Ocean floor  
10/20/00 Ocean floor Ch. 11
10/23/00 Plate tectonics Ch. 12
10/25/00 Plate tectonics "
10/26/00 LAB: Plate tectonics  
10/27/00 Mountain building, folds, and faults Ch. 13
10/30/00 Review for exam --
11/1/00 EXAM II --
11/2/00 LAB: Topographic maps I  
11/3/00 Landslides Ch. 14
11/6/00 Landslides "
11/8/00 Surface water Ch. 15
11/9/00 LAB: Topographic maps II  
11/10/00 Veterans Day observed - NO CLASSES --
11/13/00 Surface water "
11/15/00 Surface water - video "
11/16/00 LAB: Topographic maps III  
11/17/00 Groundwater Ch. 16
11/20/00 Groundwater Ch. 16
11/22/00 Thanksgiving break - NO CLASSES --
11/23/00 Thanksgiving break - NO LAB --
11/24/00 Thanksgiving break - NO CLASSES --
11/27/00 Groundwater "
11/29/00 Glaciers - alpine Ch. 17
11/30/00 LAB: Groundwater  
12/1/00 Glaciers - continental "
12/4/00 Deserts Ch. 18
12/6/00 Deserts "
12/7/00 LAB: Lab final --
12/8/00 Review for exam --
12/14/00 FINAL EXAM – comprehensive (8:00-10:00 a.m.) --