Information on ESCI 101, Section U015, Fall 2010

                                          Principles of Earth Science I or Physical Geology


Lectures:     Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 11:00‑11:50 a.m. in Patterson Hall 117

Class text:    Essentials of Geology, 3rd Edition, by Stephen Marshak, ISBN 978-0-393-93238-6

                    Also required is a RF Response Card or Clicker (discussed below)

Instructor: Dr. Timothy H. Heaton, Chair and Professor of Earth Sciences and Physics

       Office:             Patterson Hall 132D (inside the Earth Sciences department office)

       Office hours:    Monday/Wednesday/Friday at 2:00-4:00 p.m. or whenever available

       Office phone:   677‑6122          E‑mail address:

       Dept. phone:    677‑5649          Course home page:

                                                         Text home page:

Catalog description: The study of the Earth's composition, landforms, geological processes, oceans and atmosphere. Laboratory includes study of minerals, rocks, topographic maps, and landforms.
Course co-requisite: ESCI 101L.

Course description: This course covers the basic geologic processes that shape our world. If you enjoy the outdoors and want a better understanding of how things came to be, you will enjoy this course. There are no prerequisites and no special technical skills required. The course will follow the textbook closely as outlined on the class schedule, and students are expected to read the assigned chapter before coming to class. Text chapters are covered in an order that correlates with the laboratory.

Class Attendance and Clickers: Attendance in class is of the utmost importance, and exam questions will focus on topics covered in class. University policy requires recording attendance in Freshman courses. To encourage attendance and make the class more interactive, students will be asked to respond to questions during class with the RF Response Cards (Clickers). Clicker questions will be graded and will count toward the course grade in the form of extra credit (4-7 questions per lecture). These are easy points for anyone that attends class and keeps up on the material. But it is imperative to attend each lecture with your clicker and to come to class on time.

Exams: There will be three hour exams consisting of 50 multiple choice questions each and a comprehensive final exam consisting of 100 multiple choice questions (see class schedule for dates). Exam questions will come from the lectures and the chapter readings. The Key Terms and Review Questions listed at the end of each chapter will be helpful in studying for the exams, and other aids will be available on the course Web site. Make‑up exams will be by prearrangement or emergency circumstances only. The final exam will be given only at the scheduled time.

World Wide Web component: The instructor has written a practice exam editor for the World Wide Web that will be used in the course. Some practice questions will be provided for each text chapter by the instructor. There will also be an open-book Web quiz of about ten questions for each text chapter, and quiz scores will be added to the exams as part of the point total. Also, each student will receive one point of extra credit per chapter for submitting a practice question on that chapter's material for the rest of the class to see. Quizzes and chapter submissions are due before we begin the next chapter in lecture. Instructions for composing questions will be provided. Web features are available from the course home page at

Laboratory: The laboratory is an integral part of the course, and every student must be registered for one of the lab sections. Lab exercises will be provided online and must be printed by the student. Be sure to be in attendance at the first lab (beginning September 7th) with your printed exercise. Scores on lab exams and exercises constitute 25% of the final course grade. However, a passing grade in the laboratory is required to pass the overall course.

Grading: Scores will be available after each exam on the course home page using a confidential grade viewer. Final grades will be calculated based on point totals according to the following scale:

            A: 90‑100%,  B: 80‑89%,  C: 70‑79%,  D: 60‑69%,  F: 59% and below.

Cheating Policy: Any activity in which a student seeks credit for work not performed in the prescribed manner (or helps another student to do so) constitutes cheating. This includes using aides during exams, using a clicker that is not your own, or working together (or doing work in the name of another student) on Web quizzes and question submissions. Any student caught cheating will receive a zero for that exercise, and repeated cheating will result in a lower class grade. The instructor is experienced at identifying cheating, even on Web assignments, so be wise and don't do it! The university policy on cheating is as follows:

“No credit can be given for a dishonest assignment. At the discretion of the instructor, a student caught engaging in any form of academic dishonesty may be: a. given a zero for that assignment, b. allowed to rewrite and resubmit the assignment for credit, c. assigned a reduced grade for the course, d. dropped from the course, or e. failed in the course.”

Disabilities: If you have a disability for which you are or may be requesting an accommodation, you are encouraged to contact both your instructor and the Director of the Office of Disability Services (Service Center 199; 677-6389) as early as possible in the semester.

Study habits: The exam scores in this course generally have a very wide spread, often from the twenties through the nineties. Part of this may be due to different aptitudes for science, but the primary reason is different levels of commitment and different study habits. Some students approach their instructor late in the semester and ask how they can make up for months of poor performance. The key to success is to give this and all your courses your full attention and commitment. Here are a few specific suggestions:

‑Always attend class and lab, and sit near the front where it is easier to pay attention

‑Keep up with textbook reading assignments, and review key terms and concepts frequently

‑Study the review questions and key terms at the end of each textbook chapter

‑Use flash cards, or find a friend in the class and quiz each other

‑Use the practice exams on the Web to quiz yourself after studying a topic

‑Take advantage of all extra credit opportunities

‑Visit the instructor for help on anything you don't understand

Course Evaluation: You will have an opportunity to evaluate the course and the instructor using the IDEA Diagnostic Form at the end of the semester. A separate evaluation will be made in the laboratory.

Cell Phones: Please turn off cell phones and pagers and put them away during class.


Course Goals: Students are expected to learn the basic Earth Science processes that operate on our planet and how humans have altered and/or reacted to those processes over time. This class in conjunction with the laboratory fulfills the following Goal of the South Dakota System of General Education Requirements:

GOAL #6: Students will understand the fundamental principles of the natural sciences and apply scientific methods of inquiry to investigate the natural world.

Student Learning Outcomes: As a result of taking courses meeting this goal, students will:

1. Demonstrate the scientific method in Earth Science in a laboratory experience.

Identify a variety of common minerals and rocks and identify and interpret basic geological features using topographic maps and aerial photographs through completion of laboratory assignments and exams.

2. Gather and critically evaluate data using the scientific method.

Positively identify common minerals and rocks though observation of physical properties such as crystal structure, hardness, color, streak, cleavage, specific gravity, texture, and chemical composition on laboratory exams.

3. Identify and explain the basic concepts, terminology and theories of the selected natural sciences.

Demonstrate an understanding of basic geological processes (listed on class schedule) on lecture exams.

4. Apply selected natural science concepts and theories to contemporary issues.

a. Demonstrate an understanding of basic geological hazards, such as earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, major storms, and river flooding on lecture exams.

b. Demonstrate an understanding of how human activity has affected the environment, such as surface and groundwater contamination, acid rain, global warming, waste disposal, and urbanization on lecture exams.

c. Demonstrate an understanding of earth resources (fuels, minerals, metals, etc.), their origin, extraction, and conservation on lecture exams.

Freedom in learning: Students are responsible for learning the content of any course of study in which they are enrolled. Under Board of Regents and University policy, student academic performance shall be evaluated solely on an academic basis and students should be free to take reasoned exception to the data or views offered in any course of study. Students who believe that an academic evaluation is unrelated to academic standards but is related instead to judgment of their personal opinion or conduct should first contact the instructor of the course. If the student remains unsatisfied, the student may contact the department head and/or dean of the college which offers the class to initiate a review of the evaluation.

                                                ESCI 101 Class Schedule, Fall 2010


Sept. 1

Chapter 1: The Earth in Context


Sept. 3

Chapter 1 continued


Sept. 6

Labor Day Holiday (no class)


Sept. 8

Chapter 3: Patterns in Nature: Minerals


Sept. 10

Chapter 3 continued


Sept. 13

Chapter 4: Up from the Inferno: Magma and Igneous Rocks


Sept. 15

Chapter 4 continued


Sept. 17

Chapter 5: The Wrath of Vulcan: Volcanic Eruptions


Sept. 20

Chapter 5 continued


Sept. 22

Chapter 6: Pages of the Earth’s Past: Sedimentary Rocks


Sept. 24

Chapter 6 continued


Sept. 27

Exam 1 (Chapters 1, 3-6)


Sept. 29

Chapter 7: Metamorphism: A Process of Change


Oct. 1

Chapter 7 continued


Oct. 4

Chapter 2: The Way the Earth Works: Plate Tectonics


Oct. 6

Chapter 2 continued


Oct. 8

Chapter 8: A Violent Pulse: Earthquakes


Oct. 11

Native American Day Holiday (no class)


Oct. 13

Chapter 8 continued


Oct. 15

Chapter 9: Crustal Deformation and Mountain Building


Oct. 18

Chapter 9 continued


Oct. 20

Chapter 10: Deep Time: How Old is Old?


Oct. 22

Chapter 10 continued


Oct. 25

Exam 2 (Chapters 2, 7-10)


Oct. 27

Chapter 11: A Biography of Earth


Oct. 29

Chapter 14: The Geology of Streams and Floods


Nov. 1

Chapter 14 continued


Nov. 3

Chapter 16: A Hidden Reserve: Groundwater


Nov. 5

Chapter 16 continued


Nov. 8

Extra: Ocean and Atmosphere Interaction (monsoons, ocean currents)


Nov. 10

Chapter 15: Restless Realm: Oceans and Coasts


Nov. 12

Chapter 15 continued


Nov. 15

Chapter 17: Dry Regions: The Geology of Deserts


Nov. 17

Chapter 17 continued


Nov. 19

Exam 3 (Chapters 11, 14-17, Extra lecture)


Nov. 22

Chapter 18: Amazing Ice: Glaciers and Ice Ages


Nov. 24

Chapter 18 continued


Nov. 26

Thanksgiving Holiday (no class)


Nov. 29

Chapter 13: Unsafe Ground: Landslides and Other Mass Movements


Dec. 1

Chapter 13 continued


Dec. 3

Chapter 12: Riches in Rocks: Energy and Mineral Resources


Dec. 6

Chapter 12 continued


Dec. 8

Chapter 19: Global Change in the Earth System


Dec. 10

Chapter 19 continued


Dec. 13

12:30-2:30 pm  Final Exam (Chapters 12-13, 18-19, comprehensive)