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CCOG for G 161 Fall 2023

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Course Number:
G 161
Course Title:
Geology: Great Basin/Cascades
Credit Hours:
Lecture Hours:
Lecture/Lab Hours:
Lab Hours:

Course Description

Introduces the relationships between the biology and geology of the Great Basin and/or Cascades geographical area. Explores the geologic history of the Great Basin and/or Cascades geographical areas and the relationships between geology and the plants and animals of these areas. Includes a four-day field trip to the Great Basin and/or Cascades geographical area for field experience of concepts covered in the lecture portion of the class.

Addendum to Course Description

Students are expected to be able to read and comprehend college-level science texts and perform basic mathematical operations in order to successfully complete this course.

Field Based Learning Statement

Earth and space sciences are based on observations, measurements and samples collected in the field. Field-based learning is recommended by numerous professional Geology organizations, including the American Geological Institute and the National Association of Geoscience Teachers. Field-based learning improves both metacognition and spatial/visualization abilities while helping to transfer basic concepts to long-term memory by engaging multiple senses at the same time. Spatial thinking is critical to success in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) disciplines. Field work may include:

  • Developing skills in site characterization
  • Application of key terms and concepts
  • Measurement and data collection
  • Interpretation of data and observations, and fitting them to a larger context

Field work may be physically challenging and may require overland travel on foot or other means to field sites, carrying equipment and supplies, and making measurements in unusual or awkward positions for a length of time.  Field work may include inherent risks (uneven terrain, variable weather, insects, environmental irritants, travel stress, etc.). Field work can be adapted to individual abilities.

Creation Science Statement

Regarding the teaching of basic scientific principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution), the Portland Community College Geology/General Science Subject Area Committee stands by the following statements about what is science.

  •  Science is a fundamentally non-dogmatic and self-correcting investigatory process. A scientific theory is neither a guess, dogma, nor myth. The theories developed through scientific investigation are not decided in advance, but can be and often are modified and revised through observation and experimentation.
  • “Creation science,” also known as scientific creationism, is not considered a legitimate science, but a form of religious advocacy. This position is established by legal precedence (Webster v. New Lenox School District #122, 917 F.2d 1004).
  • Geology/General Science instructors at Portland Community College will teach the generally accepted basic geologic principles (such as geologic time and the theory of evolution) not as absolute truth, but as the most widely accepted explanation for our observations of the world around us. Instructors will not teach that “creation science” is anything other than pseudoscience.
  • Because "creation science", "scientific creationism", and "intelligent design" are essentially religious doctrines that are at odds with open scientific inquiry, the Geology/General Sciences SAC at Portland Community College stands with such organizations such as the National Association of Geoscience Teachers, the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, and the American Geological Institute in excluding these doctrines from our science curriculum.

Intended Outcomes for the course

After completion of this course, students will:
A. Understand the basic geological processes that formed this region and the impact this geology has on the biological organisms found here
B. Be able to use select scientific field research equipment
C. Have the ability to communicate scientific concepts effectively through written and oral reports
D. Be prepared for future study in geology or related fields

Course Activities and Design

The material in this course will be presented in a classroom lecture/discussion format with an accompanying field trip. Other educationally sound methods may be employed such as research papers and small group work.

Outcome Assessment Strategies

At the beginning of the course, the instructor will detail the methods used to evaluate student progress and the criteria for assigning a course grade. The methods may include one or more of the following tools: examinations, quizzes, homework assignments, research papers, group projects, oral presentations, or maintenance of a personal field journal.

Course Content (Themes, Concepts, Issues and Skills)

  1. Collaborate with peers - work effectively in groups.
  2. Analyze soil or water samples using field laboratory kits
  3. Describe the geologic history of the Malheur and Great Basin geographical areas
  4. Describe the volcanic processes that formed Diamond Craters
  5. Discuss the geologic formations associated with hydrothermal activity
  6. Describe the relationship between the geology and the biological organisms in desert environments
  7. Discuss human impact on the Malheur region