38:169 How Earth Works: Introduction to Physical Geography

Note: This course does not count toward a geography major or minor and cannot be used as a prerequisite for upper level courses in geography or other areas. Students who are considering a degree in geography or a related field should take 38:170 How Earth Works: Applied Physical Geography; which includes a required laboratory component.

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

Required Text:

  1. Christopherson, et al. (2016) Geosystems, 4th Canadian ed. Pearson.
  2. Christopherson, et al. (2019) Geosystems, Updated online 4th Canadian ed. Pearson.

Note: Either of the above or an earlier edition is suitable. Also available on 2 hr. loan.

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 land forms and processes; and soils.

Course Outline

Topic  Description Chapter(s)
1 Basic Geographic Concepts, Location, Coordinate Systems, and Maps 1
2 Earth Sun Relations, Solar Energy, and Seasons 2
3 The Atmosphere and Energy Balances 3 & 4
Test I Friday, October 4th    Sample Figs    Practice Questions Marks
4 Global Temperature, Atmospheric Circulation, and Climate Systems 5, 6 & 10
5 Water in the Atmosphere, At the Earth’s Surface, and Subsurface 7 & 9
6 Earth’s Internal Structure, Tectonics, Earthquakes, and Volcanism 12 & 13
Test II Friday, November 1st
7 Weathering and Mass Movements 14
8 Fluvial Processes and Landforms 15
9 Glacial Processes and Landforms 17
Final Monday, December 9th, PM

Grading Scheme

Term Test I 25% > 90% A+ 70 – 72% B-
Term Test II 25% 85 – 89% A 67 – 69% C+
Final Exam 25% 80 – 84% A- 63 – 66% C
“Wiki” Assignment 25% 77 – 79% B+ 60 – 62% C-
73 – 76% B 50 – 59% D
*Book Review 5% *Why Geography Matters 2% < 50% F

‡ Wiki Assignment: This is a required assignment in which you will create a Wiki style entry describing five selected topics covered in this course for any place of your choice. Your best strategy is to work on this project over the entire term; the deadline is the last day of the semester. Please submit a hard-copy of your final assignment in class on or before Wednesday, December 4th.

* 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.

How To Write Multiple Choice Exams*

Tutorials will be held in rm 4-47 BB, during the “spare slot” Tuesdays 12:40-1:30.