ESCI 102: Evolution of the Earth
Spring 2008, Rice University

Dr. Carrie Masiello Dr. Brandon Dugan
713-348-5234 713-348-5088
207 Keith-Wiess Earth Science 203 Keith-Wiess Earth Science

Teaching Assistant
213 Keith-Wiess Earth Science

Monday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:00-9:50 AM, 100 Keith-Wiess Earth Science

Office Hours
By appointment

Earth System History, by Steven M. Stanley, second edition
either paperback or looseleaf options are acceptable.

Participation and Quizzes (20%)
Homework (40%)
Mid-term exam (20%)
Final exam (20%)

Participation and Quizzes
Class attendance is mandatory. Participation in classroom exercises and discussions will constitute a significant portion of the course grade. All excused absences (e.g., events for student athletes) must be reported to the instructors at least 1 week in advance. Excused absences can be made up by arrangement with the instructors. Unexcused absences will be handled on individual case bases; contact the instructors for more information.

Reading the text is essential to learning the material and passing the course. We will give unannounced quizzes throughout the semester, at least one a week, to make sure you are keeping up on assigned readings. Each quiz will be based on the most recent reading assignment and/or the previous lecture. We will hand out quizzes at 9:00 AM and will collect them at 9:10 AM. If you arrive late to class, you will not be able to take the quiz.

If you miss a quiz due to an excused absence (e.g. athletic travel, professional or family responsibility, illness), it is your responsibility to contact us to schedule a make-up activity.

Homework assignments and written papers will be 40% of the course grade. All assignments and papers will be handed out in class with an assigned due date. Assignments and papers are due at the beginning of lecture on the due date. Late assignments will not be accepted without prior arrangement.

Two exams are included in the course. The first will occur at the mid-term (20% of course grade) and will be a 50-minute in-class exam. The second exam (20% of course grade) will be comprehensive and will occur during the final exam period as scheduled by the registrar.

Extra Credit
Various opportunities to earn extra credit will be provided during the semester. These opportunities will be announced during class and posted on the course website. Extra credit tasks will not replace assignments, but will be additional points added to an individual’s homework points.

Class Goals
The course provides an overview of the history of the Earth and its function as a coupled system. You will study this concept through reading assignments, written assignments, take-home essays, and active classroom discussions. Students will develop critical thinking skills and apply them to scientific problems. We hope to strengthen oral and written presentation skills with a series of exercises.

Class Rules
It is expected that all students will be alert and attentive during lectures and activities. Cellular telephones and similar devices must be turned off during the class period. Reading of newspapers and other non-class related material will not be tolerated during class. No tobacco use will be permitted during any course activities.

Plagiarism is the undocumented inclusion of someone else’s work within your work, and besides damaging your education, also violates Rice's Honor Code. We take plagiarism very seriously, and to help you understand what is appropriate, every assignment will include an explanation of what constitutes an Honor Code violation. Be sure that you understand what is an appropriate level of collaboration before sharing information with a colleague. Please contact us if you have questions about collaboration.

Special Accommodations
Any student with a disability that requires special accommodations for this course is encouraged to contact the instructors. In addition to meeting with the instructors, these students should contact Disability Support Services in the Ley Student Center.

Class Outline
Below is an overview of topics we will cover. Some dates and topics may shift slightly during the term. All changes will be updated on the course website. Dates listed as TBD (to be determined) will be used to wrap-up and summarize previous lectures and for discussions on Earth science processes.

day Date lecture topic [lecturer]
Monday 1-7-08 No Class
Wednesday 1-9-08 Chapter 1: Earth as a System [Dugan]
Friday 1-11-08 Chapter 2: Rock-forming minerals and rocks [Dugan]
Monday 1-14-08 In-Class Activity: Geologic Events
Wednesday 1-16-08 Chapter 3: The diversity of life [Dugan]
Friday 1-18-08 Chapter 4: Environments and life [Dugan]
Monday 1-21-08 MLK day: no classes
Wednesday 1-23-08 Chapter 4: Environments and life [Dugan]
Friday 1-25-08 Chapter 5: Sedimentary environments [Dugan]
Monday 1-28-08 Chapter 5: Sedimentary environments [Dugan]
Wednesday 1-30-08 Chapter 6: Correlation and dating of the rock record [Dugan]
Friday 2-1-08 TBD [Dugan]
Monday 2-4-08 Chapter 8: The theory of plate tectonics [Dugan]
Wednesday 2-6-08 Major Plate Tectonic Events [Dugan]
Friday 2-8-08 Chapter 9: Continental tectonics and mountain chains [Dugan]
Monday 2-11-08 Chapter 7: Evolution and the fossil record [Masiello]
Wednesday 2-13-08 Chapter 7: Evolution and the fossil record [Masiello]
Friday 2-15-08 Chapter 10: Major chemical cycles [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Monday 2-18-08 Chapter 10: Major chemical cycles [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Wednesday 2-20-08 Mid-term review [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Friday 2-22-08 Mid-term exam [Dugan OOT]
Monday 2-25-08 Chapter 11: The Archaean eon of Precambrian time [Dugan]
Wednesday 2-27-08 Chapter 11: The Archaean eon of Precambrian time [Dugan]
Friday 2-29-08 TBD
Monday 3-3-08 Midterm recess
Wednesday 3-5-08 Midterm recess
Friday 3-7-08 Midterm recess
Monday 3-10-08 Chapter 12: The Proterozoic Eon [Dugan]
Wednesday 3-12-08 In-Class Activity: Snowball Earth
Friday 3-14-08 Chapter 13: The Early Paleozoic World [Masiello]
Monday 3-17-08 Chapter 13: The Early Paleozoic World [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Wednesday 3-19-08 Chapter 14: The Middle Paleozoic World [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Friday 3-21-08 TBD
Monday 3-24-08 Chapter 15: The Late Paleozoic World [Masiello]
Wednesday 3-26-08 In-Class Activity: Before the Dinosaurs
Friday 3-28-08 Chapter 16: The Early Mesozoic Era [Masiello]
Monday 3-31-08 Chapter 17: The Cretaceous World [Masiello]
Wednesday 4-2-08 In-Class Activity
Friday 4-4-08 Spring recess
Monday 4-7-08 Chapter 17: The Cretaceous World [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Wednesday 4-9-08 Chapter 18: The Paleogene World [Masiello] [Dugan OOT]
Friday 4-11-08 TBD
Monday 4-14-08 Chapter 19: The Neogene World [Masiello]
Wednesday 4-16-08 Chapter 20: The Holocene [Masiello]
Friday 4-18-08 Geology Activity in Our Lives
Monday 4-21-08 Natural Disasters [Dugan]
Wednesday 4-23-08 Final exam review