Course Number:
GS 106
Transcript Title:
Physical Science (Geology)
Aug 11, 2022
Aug 17, 2022
Total Credits:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture / Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:
Satisfies Cultural Literacy requirement:
Satisfies General Education requirement:
Grading Options
A-F, P/NP, Audit
Default Grading Options
Repeats available for credit:

MTH 65 or equivalent placement


WR 121

Course Description

Covers minerals, rocks, volcanism, earthquakes, plate tectonics, erosion and deposition by wind, glaciers and streams, weathering, fossils and geologic history. Includes weekly lab. Prerequisite: MTH 65 or equivalent placement. Prerequisite/concurrent: WR 121. Audit available.

Course Outcomes

A student who successfully completes this course should be able to:

  1. Use an understanding of the rock cycle, plate tectonics and surface processes to explain how the Earth’s surface wears away and is renewed.
  2. Use an understanding of geologic dating methods and the interpretation of geologic deposits to explain how geologists reconstruct the history of the Earth.
  3. Access earth science information from a variety of sources, evaluate the quality of this information, and compare this information with current models of geologic processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  4. Make field and laboratory based observations and measurements of earth materials and landscapes, use scientific reasoning to interpret these observations and measurements, and compare the results with current models of geologic processes identifying areas of congruence and discrepancy.
  5. Use scientifically valid modes of inquiry, individually and collaboratively, to critically evaluate the hazards and risks posed by geologic processes both to themselves and society as a whole, evaluate the efficacy of possible ethically robust responses to these risks, and effectively communicate the results of this analysis to their peers.
  6. Assess the contributions of geology to our evolving understanding of global change and sustainability while placing the development of geology in its historical and cultural context.

Alignment with Institutional Learning Outcomes

1. Communicate effectively using appropriate reading, writing, listening, and speaking skills. (Communication)
2. Creatively solve problems by using relevant methods of research, personal reflection, reasoning, and evaluation of information. (Critical thinking and Problem-Solving)
3. Extract, interpret, evaluate, communicate, and apply quantitative information and methods to solve problems, evaluate claims, and support decisions in their academic, professional and private lives. (Quantitative Literacy)
4. Use an understanding of cultural differences to constructively address issues that arise in the workplace and community. (Cultural Awareness)
5. Recognize the consequences of human activity upon our social and natural world. (Community and Environmental Responsibility)

To establish an intentional learning environment, Institutional Learning Outcomes (ILOs) require a clear definition of instructional strategies, evidence of recurrent instruction, and employment of several assessment modes.

Major Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed recurrently in the curriculum, regularly enough to establish a thorough understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a thorough understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Minor Designation

  1. The outcome is addressed adequately in the curriculum, establishing fundamental understanding.
  2. Students can demonstrate and are assessed on a fundamental understanding of the outcome.
    • The course includes at least one assignment that can be assessed by applying the appropriate CLO rubric.

Suggested Outcome Assessment Strategies

The instructor will choose from the following methods of assessment: exams, quizzes, lab exercises, written reports, oral presentations, group projects, class participation, homework assignments, and field trips. The instructor shall detail the methods being used to the students at the beginning of the course.

Course Activities and Design

The determination of teaching strategies used in the delivery of outcomes is generally left to the discretion of the instructor. Here are some strategies that you might consider when designing your course: lecture, small group/forum discussion, flipped classroom, dyads, oral presentation, role play, simulation scenarios, group projects, service learning projects, hands-on lab, peer review/workshops, cooperative learning (jigsaw, fishbowl), inquiry based instruction, differentiated instruction (learning centers), graphic organizers, etc.

Course Content

(NOTE: the topics may be chosen in any order by the instructor)

  • Explain rock and mineral classification and identification.
  • Explain how these materials form and how they are related to each other.
  • Describe the major types of landscapes that make up the earth’s surface and how they are formed.
  • Describe the earth’s internal structure and the processes shaping it.
  • Explain the relationship between the processes that shape landscapes and those that shape internal structure.
  • Explain the relationship between the processes that shape landscapes and structure and those that form crustal materials.
  • Explain how geologic histories are constructed.
  • Identify the major parts of and events in the geologic calendar.
  • Discuss the personal and societal relevance of these topics.

Topics to be covered include

Geologic materials:

  • Minerals - Properties, classification, and chemistry
  • Igneous rocks - Identification and classification
  • Magmas and magmatic cooling - Volcanism and intrusion
  • Sediments and weathering
  • Sedimentary rocks - Identification and classification
  • Lithification
  • Metamorphic rocks - Identification and classification
  • Metamorphism - settings and processes

Landscapes and landscaping processes:

  • Global topography and structure
  • Topographic and geologic maps
  • Mass wasting and related landscapes
  • Streams and related landscapes
  • Glacial systems and related landscapes
  • Groundwater systems and related landscapes
  • Crustal deformation and related structures (folds and faults)
  • Earthquakes and plate tectonics

Historical geology:

  • Fossils and stratigraphy
  • Relative and absolute dating techniques
  • Geologic time scale; major events in Earth history

Department Notes

The purpose of this course is to gain knowledge and appreciation of geology through lecture/discussion sessions and laboratory experiences. It is a one-term survey course that may be included as part of the years sequence in physical science for college transfer credit.
The course will have as many of the following components as feasible: lectures, discussions, lab activities, videos, slides, CDs, live television, field trips, and computer-aided instruction.

The text and materials for the course have been chosen by the faculty, and viewpoints shall be that of the author(s). This includes the topics of relativity, the geologic time scale, evolution of the Earth and its atmosphere, the solar system, the galaxy, and the universe.

Columbia Gorge Community College Science Department stands by the following statement about regarding science instruction:

Science is a fundamentally nondogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. Theories (such as biological evolution and geologic time scale) are developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance. As such, scientific theories can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation. "Creation science", "Intelligent design" or similar beliefs are not considered legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F. 2d 1004).

The Science Department at Columbia Gorge Community College therefore stands with organizations such as the National Association of Biology Teachers in opposing the inclusion of pseudo-sciences in our science curricula except to reference and/or clarify its invalidity.