Geography 100: Physical Geography, Spring 2005


Contact the Course Instructor:



Electronic Mail


Office Hours

Dr. Rob Hellström

#301, Conant Science Bldg.

(508) 531-2842

MWR 10-11, or by appointment

Course Prerequisites:

None, but cannot be taken if GEOG 120: Physical World is taken for credit. You may add the GE-100 class if:

·         The course is not full

·         You sign an add/drop slip within 6 working days of the first day of scheduled classes.

Course Structure:


CRN Call #

Day, Time




T and R, 10:50 - 11:40 A.M.

#304 Conant Science Bldg.


10907 or 10908

T or R, 1:00 - 2:50 P.M.

#309 Conant Science Bldg.

 Required textbook:

This text contains recommended readings, helpful diagrams and tables to successfully complete Geography 100, and it is available at the Bridgewater State College bookstore (older editions are fine):

·          Text:  McKnight, T. L. and D. Hess, 2005: Physical Geography: A Landscape Appreciation. 8th Ed. Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, NJ, 640 pp. ISBN: 0-13-145139-1

·          Lab: You will receive handouts for lab assignments

Course Objectives:

This course is designed to provide students with a basic understanding of how the places on Earth are connected by physical processes acting in space through time. The Earth is a system composed of interconnected subsystems: the atmosphere, hydrosphere, biosphere and lithosphere. The main objective of this course is to introduce and analyze the elements making up the four spheres on Earth, and to explore the formation of global landscape patterns. The lectures include discussions of how human activities depend on the Earth’s resources and how they are changing the physical geography of the Earth, on local and global scales.

The class web page provides announcements, lecture outlines and exam study materials: you may print lecture outlines prior to class meetings and take notes in the space provided.


In addition, the CD-ROM in the back of the book provides visually stimulating material to complement and clarify lecture topics.




Your final grade is based on two (2) examinations and weekly lab assignments. Examinations include multiple choice, short answer and essay questions. No makeup exams: inform instructor if extreme circumstances arise. 

·         Midterm Exam (35%):  Thurs., Mar. 3rd, 10:50-11:40 A.M.

·         Final Exam (35%): Tues., May 12th, 11:00 A.M. -1:00 P.M. (material since Midterm only)

·         Laboratory Exercises and Quizzes (30%):  There are eleven (11) lab assignments, some of which will require additional time outside of lab to complete. Some labs include a pre-laboratory review sheet, handed out the week prior to your scheduled lab. In addition, you will take two (2) 30-minute lab quizzes during the semester: the instructor will announce the dates of lab quizzes one week in advance.

·         Progress during assigned laboratory period (1/3rd of lab grade): You must be in the lab room and actively engaged in the assigned exercises/experiments to receive credit.

·         Accuracy of answers (1/3rd of lab grade): Labs will be collected and graded one (1) week after the assigned lab period. You should receive graded labs one week after the due date.

·         NOTE: Turn in labs ON TIME!  You will loose 10% credit for every one (1) day after the due date (generally, lab scores range from 70 to 100%) 

·         Lab Quizzes (1/3rd of lab grade): two (2) lab quizzes will be announced during lecture and given during your assigned lab, one (1) week after the announcement.

·         NOTE: Quizzes cannot be taken late

Bonus option (Maximum +10% added to final grade): You may write a scientific review of a current environmental (global or local) issue making news. You are not required to write a paper, but it can potentially raise your grade by one letter. The course web site provides helpful info.

·         Final paper due Thursday, May 5th

·         The instructor will examine a draft of your paper and give constructive comments if you wish.    

      Draft due by Tuesday, April 26th: allow instructor one (1) week to return paper

·         Inform the instructor of your topic choice by Tuesday, April 19th, or earlier

·         A list of possible topics will be posted on the course web page in the course syllabus

·         Length requirements: 5 to 9 pages of text, double spaced and typed: figures are in addition to this

·         Include bibliography (references); news papers, magazines, science journals, web pages, etc.

      (references should be cited within your paper for full credit, ask instructor if you have ?s):

*Must have at least 2 references from hardcopy, paper sources (full-text, online journals are OK).

·         NOTE on Plagiarism: Information copied and pasted from Internet must be quoted and referenced. No paper with greater than 25% “copied” Internet information will receive better than 2/10 credit.

Important: First come, first served on paper topics: no more than two students may have similar topics. Notify the instructor of your choice and the topic will be updated to the course web page.


Format and Grading of paper: You will be graded based on the following content:

·         Include original article or photocopy (news clipping, journal article, etc…)

·         Background text on the topic [3-5 pages with citations]

·         Summarize the author’s(s’) major point of view on the issue discussed [1-2 pages]

·         Your scientifically-based opinion of the topic and a critique for or against author’s(s’) point of view. [1-2 pages with citations to back up your opinion/critique]

·         Full 10% bonus requires that you cover all criteria above and provide a bibliography with at least 5 references

Special needs:  Any student eligible for and needing academic adjustments or accommodations because of a disability is requested to speak with the professor no later the first two weeks of class.

Attendance is taken periodically and expected every class meeting; notify the instructor if you cannot attend.