38:169 How Earth Works

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 Introduction to 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:

Christopherson, et al. (2019 digital) Geosystems, 4th Canadian ed.: Pearson

Get Started Handout Mastering Geography and Meteorology

OR Christopherson, et al. (2016 paperback) Geosystems, 4th Canadian ed.: Pearson

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
4 Global Temperature, Atmospheric Circulation, and Climate Systems 5, 6 & 10
Test I Friday, October 19th
5 Water in the Atmosphere, At the Earth’s Surface, and Subsurface 7 & 9
6 Earth’s Internal Structure, Tectonics, Earthquakes, and Volcanism 11 & 12
7 Weathering and Mass Movements 13
Test II Wednesday, November 21st
8 Fluvial Processes and Landforms 14
9 Glacial Processes and Landforms 17
10 Soil Genesis and Classification 18
Final Monday, December 10th, AM

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” Entries (5)‡ 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 5th.

* Optional Extra Credit Assignments: A book review OR contribution to “Why Geography Matters” may be submitted at any time before the last day of class for extra credit.

How To Write Multiple Choice Exams*