GEO110 - EARTH
Instructor: Dr. Alan Goldin, Room Coulter 209
Office hours: M,W,F 10 A.M.; T 11
Class: M,W,F 9 A.M., Coulter 139
Lab: T 2-5 Coulter 139
--> COURSE DESCRIPTION:
Study of the basic geographical and earth science principles and
processes in the lithosphere (soils and landforms), hydrosphere
(hydrologic cycle), atmosphere (weather and climate), and biosphere
(biogeography). Study of the relationships between the natural
environment and human habitation on the Earth. Lab and
field exercises and data evaluation will give students an appreciation
of the tools of study and more detailed look at the entire system of
the Planet Earth in which there is human interaction.
This course satisfies the Tier II requirement for scientific inquiry.
Note: There may be slight alterations in this syllabus as the semester
progresses. Any changes will be announced several times in class
as well as announced on our Public Folders web site GEO110.
--> CONTENTS OF COURSE, CALENDAR, AND READING ASSIGNMENTS
January 14 The Discipline of Geography, Earth
to Time and Space, Solar Energy,
February 13 Atmosphere, Radiation,
Temperature, Pressure, Wind,
1st Lab Exam
Atmospheric and Oceanic Circulations,
Water and Atmospheric Moisture,
Weather, Climate and Climatic Classification
*** Exam 1 February 13 ***
February 18 Ecosystem Essentials, Terrestrial Biomes,
to The Dynamic Planet, Plate
March 19 Earthquakes, Volcanism, Weathering,
8-14 March 9 or
Mass Movement, Geography of Soils
*** Exam 2 March 17
March 29 Surface water and Groundwater Systems,
to Fluvial and Karst Landscapes,
3rd Lab Exam
April 23 Periglacial Processes and Landforms,
15-19 April 13
Eolian processes and Arid Landscapes,
Coastal Processes and Landforms, Rock Structures
*** Exam 3 April 23 ***
April 26 to 30 Review and catch up
May 9 Optional cumulative
take-home final exam
Required: Introducing Physical Geography by Alan Strahler and Arthur
Strahler, Third edition, John Wiley and Sons, 2002.
Required: Lab manual on GEO110 Public Folder or in the bookstore
--> COURSE REQUIREMENTS:
1. Three examinations on
lecture/textbook material. All exams will cover only material
discussed since the previous exam, except as new material relates to
previously tested material. Exams will be a combination of
true-false, multiple choice, matching, fill-in, problems, and
essay. Every effort should be made to take the exams. The
best three count toward your grade. Exams will be given February
13, March 17, and April 23. *****NO**** make-up exams will
be given!!!!!! An optional final exam will be given during
final exam week. If you miss an exam, either an approved paper
must be written or the final exam must be taken. If two exams are
missed, both the paper and final exam must be written. All
students with less than a 79.9 average on April 28 will be required to
take the final exam.
2. A five-to-ten page paper on a course-related
topic covered this semester can replace an exam that is taken, unless
an illness precludes your taking an exam. Under such
circumstances, a doctor's note will be required. The paper is due
no later than March 31. NO extensions. The topic MUST be
approved by the instructor by March 1. Papers MUST also be
approved by the Writing Lab. Submit their approval form with your
paper. You cannot change your topic after March 1. Failure
to get written approval will result in a one letter grade loss.
Don't wait until the last minute to write the paper. The paper
MUST be proofread and spellchecked. One point will be deducted
for any more than two mistakes in proofreading or spelling.
Guidelines are on the GEO110 web folder. Because of the
deadlines, if the third exam is missed, the paper is not an
option. The paper requires three refereed journals to be
referenced. Failure to follow guidelines will result in grade
penalties. Using GEOREF is preferable to EBSCOHost.
3. Quizzes will be given every week on Wednesday
except exam weeks. April 7's quiz will be given April 9.
These will take no more than 10-15 minutes. Staying current with
the course material will maximize your scores on these quizzes.
The best 10 will count toward your grade.
4. Homework assignments will be given on a regular
basis with specific due dates. Failure to turn in the assignment
on the due date will result in a loss of one grade until one week late
and a zero if turned in more than one week late. Approximately
80% of the assignments will count toward your grade.
5. A map quiz identifying the
names and locations of mountain ranges, lakes, seas, and ocean currents
worldwide will be given March 3. The list is on the GEO110 public
6. The laboratory part of the course will include
lab exercises and field trips. The lab grade will come from lab
exams held every four weeks covering material from the labs since the
previous exam. The exam dates are February 10, March 9 or 16, and
April 13. These exams will be open-book. The best three
exams will count towards your grade. An optional cumulative lab
exam will be given on April 27. Lab reports from the field trips
will count as extra credit added to your total score for the
labs. The lab exercises are not required to be handed in, but
their completion will certainly help in your open-book lab exam.
If you hand in the lab reports, the instructor will review and return
7. Attending class and lab is an essential part of
your grade. You are allowed a maximum of three excused (or unexcused)
absences. Each absence is worth 5 points. If you use <3
for the semester, your attendance grade will be 100. If you are
absent 4 or more times, each of the absences will count its five-point
grade loss, so that with four absences, your attendance grade will be
80. It is YOUR responsibility to give me a doctor's or coach's
note for each and every absence. This note MUST be delivered no
later than the next class or the absence counts as "unexcused."
The note from the coach can be similar to the following: "Mary Jones is
on the softball team. She missed your class on February 4 due to
her participation in a softball game in Springfield, Illinois." It MUST
be signed and dated. Similarly, the physician's note must be
specific. It is YOUR responsibility to get this note delivered on
time. It is also your responsibility to sign in for class each
day as well as to deliver ALL assignments on time.
8. Class notes: This is mostly a lecture-oriented
class, but class participation is encouraged and expected.
You should expect to be called upon to express your
understanding. Your responses will affect your grade.
Everyone should have a notebook and take appropriate notes. Exam
questions will come from lectures, class discussions, and
9. Reading assignments: The chapter for each lecture
topic should be read before class and reviewed after class to get the
10. Be sure to check our web folder regularly.
I will communicate with you in this fashion outside of class.
Any student who feels that he or she may need an accommodation based on
the impact of a disability should contact the instructor to arrange an
appointment at his/her earliest convenience. At that time, we can
discuss the course format, anticipate your needs, and explore possible
accommodations. Westminster's ADA policy can be found on
the college's website for from the Learning Disability in the basement
of Westminster Hall.
Exams (best three):
Quizzes (best 10):
--> OBJECTIVES OF THE COURSE:
1. To describe which type of physical features
are located on the earth's surface and where they are.
2. To explain why and how physical processes
act to shape the earth.
3. To evaluate different environments on the
earth in terms of their life-supporting capacity.
4. To understand how and why humankind
interacts with the environment.
1. Study of the atmosphere and the ways in
which it furnishes light, heat, and water to the life layer and how
variations in the atmosphere affect the different life-supporting
2. Study of the solid earth to understand the
geologic and pedologic principles essential for understanding the
formation of the earth's crust and mineral resources.
3. Study of the configuration of the earth's
land surface, (landforms, soils, vegetation, and hydrologic features)
and the processes that shape them.
4. In order to achieve the overall objectives
of the course, explanation will be given of the spatial distribution of
elements of the physical environment, including current patterns on the
landscape and why and how these patterns came into existence.
OCEANS, SEAS, LAKES, RIVERS, MOUNTAINS, OCEAN CURRENTS FOR MAP QUIZ
East Australian Current
Kuroshio (Japan Current)
North Atlantic Drift
North Pacific Drift
Oyashio (Kamchatka Current) Volga
West Australia Current
West Wind Drift
OCEANS AND SEAS
East China Sea
Great Bear Lake
Great Slave Lake
Sea of Japan
Gulf of Mexico
Sea of Okhotsk
South China Sea