Introduction to Earth and Space Systems

Texts: Earth Science (1997 ed.), Spaulding and Namowitz
Readings and notes from various sources
Week Schedule of Topics and Assignments
1 Introduction to the Branches of Earth Science
Aspects of Geology, Meteorology, Oceanography, and Astronomy
Formation of the solar system
Earth as an evolving planet
Review of Scientific Method and measurement
2 Matter and its changes
Atomic structure of matter
Atoms, molecules, elements, and compounds
Earth Materials
3 Minerals
Identification and uses of minerals
Chemical and physical properties of minerals
4 Rocks
The Rock Cycle
Igneous, sedimentary, and metamorphic rocks
5 Earth’s Natural Resources
Views of the Earth
6 Maps and Mapping
Map projections, legends, and scales
Topography, elevation, and relief
  The Rock Record and Geologic Time
Surface Processes That Shape our Earth
7 Weathering and Erosion
  Water Cycle
Rivers and streams
  Ice and Wind
Earth's Internal Processes
8 Plate Tectonics
Continental Drift Theory
Plate boundaries
The driving mechanism of Plate Tectonics
9 Mountain Building and the Deformation of the Continental Crust
  Volcanoes and Earthquakes
Week Schedule of Topics and Assignments
1 Introduction to Astronomy
The Adventure of Astronomy (How we know the things we know)
A Tour of the Universe
Measurement in space
Angles and angular measure
2 Discovering the Night Sky
The Celestial Sphere
Stars and Constellations
3 Sun, Earth and Moon
The seasons
Phases of the moon
4 History of Astronomy
Ancient Greek measurement and theory
Modern Astronomy from Copernicus to Hubble
5 The Telescope
A brief look at light and optics
The telescope changes everything!
6 The Solar System
The Sun
The planets
Dwarf planets and moons
Asteroids, meteorites, and comets
7 Stars
What is a Star?
How far? How bright? How big?
The life cycle of stars
8 Galaxies and the Universe
The Milky Way
Quasars, pulsars, neutron stars, black holes
9 Cosmology and the Creation of the Universe
Exploration of the solar system and Beyond
The Search for E.T.
The Big Bang
Where did we come from and where are we going?

Introduction to Earth and Space Systems: Guidelines & Expectations

We are partners in learning. During this course, you will have the opportunity to discover things about Earth and Space sciences that should amaze and fascinate you. I will make every effort to present this material in an interesting, informative, and provocative way. However, attending class and paying attention will probably not be all you need to do to achieve success here. I expect you to study at least 1 hour each day (7-10 hours/week), outside of class, so you may fully understand and assimilate this material. You need to make this effort.

Come to class on time. Students are expected to be in their assigned seat at the tone that marks the beginning of the period. Three or more unexcused tardies will result in disciplinary action. Each student is expected to exhibit appropriate classroom behavior. Disruptions and annoyances that interfere with students’ ability to learn will not be tolerated. The use of cell phones or other electronic devices will not be permitted during class.

Be prepared each day with your text (if requested), notebook, pen or pencil, calculator, and an active mind. Please don’t ask to borrow a pen, pencil, calculator, or mind.

If you miss a day, you miss a lot. It will be your responsibility to make up all work due to absence. Immediately upon your return to class, you should make an appointment with me to discuss what you have missed. Failure to do so may result in no credit (grade of 0) awarded for the assignments missed. Be sure to contact a responsible classmate to obtain notes you missed during your absence.

Assignments need to be completed on time. Work turned in late (except for absences noted above) will marked down 20% for each day late and will not be accepted after three days' time (grade of 0). You will be given sufficient time to complete your assignments. Many of these assignments require several days to complete. Do not wait until the night before the due date to attempt to complete these tasks.

Your submitted assignments must be just that...yours. Cheating, including plagiarism, will not be tolerated. Penalties for this type of infraction will be severe, up to and including an F in the course.

Grading Procedure: Students receive their grade based upon the total number of points earned from the following assessments:

Tests and quizzes: 40% Grading scale: A 93-100 A- 90-92
Laboratory exercises and observations: 40%   B+ 88-89 B 82-87 B- 80-81
Class activities (i.e. projects, reports, homework): 20%   C+ 78-79 C 72-77 C- 70-71
  D+ 68-69 D 62-67 D- 60-61
            F < 60

This is an "elective" course. I am assuming you are here because you want to learn about the Earth and Space Sciences. To do well, your work needs to be completed on time and be a reflection of your best efforts.

Please also take a moment to read this letter from the National Commission on Excellence in Education.