38:170 How Earth Works: Applied Physical Geography

Instructors:  Lecture, Dr. Dion J. Wiseman – 38:170 Laboratory, Ms. Wenonah van Heyst
Office: Brodie Room 4-07
Office Hrs: Monday, Wednesday, Friday; 11 – 12 PM; or by Appointment
Phone: 727-9774
Email: wiseman@brandonu.ca

Required Text:

Arbogast, Ford, and Dagesse. Discovering Physical Geography, 1st Canadian Edition. John Wiley and Sons, 2018. Available through the BU bookstore as either a loose-leaf text or in electronic format. Another option is to rent the textbook for just the semester; more information is available here.

Course Description

Physical Geography is the study of the physical components and processes operating within Earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere. This course will introduce basic geographic concepts and examine a variety of these systems in a spatial context. Topics discussed include coordinate systems, maps, and map projections; GIS, remote sensing, and GPS technology; solar energy and radiation balances; weather and climate; volcanism, earthquakes, and plate tectonics; weathering and mass movements; fluvial, eolian, coastal, and glacial landforms and processes; and soils.

Tentative Course Outline

Topic  Description Chapter(s)
1 Introduction, Earth Four Spheres, and the Systems Approach 1
2 Basic Concepts, Location, and Geospatial Technologies 2
3 Earth Sun Relations and the Reasons for the Seasons 3
Test I Friday, October 6th
4 Solar Energy and the Global Energy Balance 4
5 Structure of the Atmosphere and Temperature Controls 5
6 Atmospheric Pressure and Global Circulation Patterns 6
Test II Friday, November 3rd
7 Water in the Atmosphere, at Earth’s Surface, and Subsurface 7 (to pg. 148) & 15
8 Earth’s Internal Structure, Tectonics, and Volcanism 12 & 13
9 Weathering and Mass Movements 14
10 Fluvial Processes and Landforms 16
11 Glacial Processes and Landforms 17
Final Thursday, December 14th,  9 AM

Grading Scheme

Test I & Quizzes 20%* > 90% A+ 70 – 72% B-
Test II & Quizzes 20%* 85 – 89% A 67 – 69% C+
Final & Quizzes 20%* 80 – 84% A- 63 – 66% C
Laboratory & Quizzes 40% 77 – 79% B+ 60 – 62% C-
Total 100% 73 – 76% B 50 – 59% D
* Variably weighted, best exam vs. worst exam +/- 5 percent. < 50% F

Optional Extra Credit Assignments:

A book review OR short essay on “Why Geography Matters” may be submitted at any time before the last day of class for extra credit.

38:170 Laboratory:

Labs are scheduled on either M, T, or W afternoons. There are 9 lab assignments worth 24% and two lab quizzes worth 16%.

Microsoft Teams

In addition to the course website, I will use Microsoft Teams to manage the course. This includes distributing lecture notes prior to class, posting and receiving practice quizzes, giving tests, and responding to questions outside of class time.  I will provide you with an access code and instructions on how to join our HEW Team.

Important BU Statements and Policies