This Course at MIT

Course Overview

This page focuses on the course 12.001 Introduction to Geology as it was taught by Profs. Taylor Perron and Oliver Jagoutz in Fall 2013.

This course introduces students to the basics of geology through lectures, laboratory exercises, and one weekend field trip. Topics ranging from mineral and rock identification to the origin of the continents, from geologic mapping to plate tectonics, and from erosion by rivers and glaciers to the history of life are explored.

Course Outcomes

Course Goals for Students  

  • Understand and apply basic principles of geology
  • Gain hands-on experience with rocks, minerals, and field observations
  • Develop an awareness of the societal relevance of Earth Science

Possibilities for Further Study

After this course, students may be interested in an undergraduate major or minor in Earth, Atmospheric and Planetry Sciences.

This course is complementary to 12.002 Physics and Chemistry of the Terrestrial Planets and 12.003 Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics.

 

Instructor Insights

In the following pages, Prof. Taylor Perron describes various aspects of how he teaches 12.001 Introduction to Geology.

 

Curriculum Information

Prerequisites

The course is designed to be accessible to students from all disciplines. No geology background is assumed.

Requirements Satisfied

Offered

Every fall semester. (Prior to Fall 2012, this course was offered every spring semester.)

The Classroom

  • A medium-sized classroom with rows of tables and chairs.

    Lecture and Lab

    Lecture and lab took place in this geology classroom with a projector and blackboards for instruction, and tables and countertops for student work.

  • Several rocks and minerals on a countertop.

    Lecture and Lab

    Hand samples of rocks and minerals were used in the lectures and labs.

  • Stick and ball models of mineral atomic structure.

    Lecture and Lab

    Models of mineral structure are displayed at the back of the classroom.

 

Assessment

The students' grades were based on the following activities:

The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by a field trip report, lab reports, and exercises. 60% Field trip report, lab reports, and exercises
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by quizzes. 35% Quizzes
The color used on the preceding chart which represents the percentage of the total grade contributed by class participation. 5% Class participation
 

Assessment Note

Reports were evaluated on clarity of presentation as well as soundness of analysis.

Student Information

20 students took this course in Fall 2013.

Enrollment

Enrollment varies between 15 and 30 students each year.

Breakdown by Year

This course is taken by a combination of sophomores, juniors, and seniors.

Breakdown by Major

½ majors in Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences and ½ majors in other departments

 

How Student Time Was Spent

During an average week, students were expected to spend 12 hours on the course, roughly divided as follows:

Lecture

3 hours per week
  • Typically met three times a week for one hour per session; 31 sessions total.
  • Lecture by one of the two faculty instructors supplemented with slides and blackboard demonstrations.
  • Student participation was encouraged and included in the students’ final grades.
 

Recitation

3 hours per week
  • Typically met three times a week for one hour per session immediately after lecture; 26 sessions total.
  • A short introduction by the faculty or teaching assistant, followed by a hands-on activity and/or group work related to the lecture.
 

Out of Class

6 hours per week
  • Finish lab reports and exercises that were begun during the lab.
  • Study for quizzes.
  • Participate in the weekend field trip and complete the field trip report.
 

Semester Breakdown

WEEK M T W Th F
1 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
2 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
3 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lab session. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT.
4 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture session; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lab session.
5 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
6 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Weekend field trip.
7 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
8 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture session; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
9 Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture session; lab tour. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session.
10 Lab session. No session scheduled. Lab session. No session scheduled. Lab session.
11 No classes throughout MIT. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lab session.
12 Lecture session; quiz held. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session.
13 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture session. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
14 Lecture session. No session scheduled. Lecture and lab session. No session scheduled. Lecture session; quiz held.
15 Lecture session. No session scheduled. No session scheduled. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
16 No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT. No classes throughout MIT.
Displays the color and pattern used on the preceding table to indicate dates when classes are not held at MIT. No classes throughout MIT
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lecture sessions are held. Lecture session
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when a weekend fields are held. Weekend field trip
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lab tours are held. Lab tour in EAPS department
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when no class session is scheduled. No class session scheduled
Displays the color used on the preceding table to indicate dates when lab sessions are held. Lab session
Displays the symbol used on the preceding table to indicate dates when quizzes are held. Quiz
 

Course Team Roles

Lead Co-instructors (Prof. Taylor Perron & Prof. Oliver Jagoutz)

Develop the course lectures, labs, exercises, and weekend field trip.

Teaching Assistant—Graduate Student in EAPS department

  • Lead the labs and exercise sessions
  • Grade the lab reports and exercises
  • Handle the logistical preparations of the field trip
  • Support the faculty and students on the weekend field trip

Teaching Assistant—Undergraduate Student in EAPS department

  • Assist students during the labs and exercise sessions
  • Grade the lab reports and exercises
  • Support the faculty and students on the weekend field trip