Skagit Valley College

Catalog Course Search Details

 Course Title:   Matter and Energy in Earth Science

 Title Abbreviation:   MATTER/ENERGY EARTH SCI

 Department:    EASC

 Course #:    111

 Credits:    5

 Variable:     No

 IUs:    5.5

 CIP:    n/a

 EPC:    n/a

 REV:    2018

 Course Description  

An inquiry-based survey of Earth sciences designed to promote a basic understanding of the inter-relationship of matter and energy, and their role in changes occurring in the solid Earth, the oceans, the atmosphere, and extraterrestrial systems. Field trips (mostly during class time) may be required. Lab included. This course is part of a science sequence recommended for students pursuing a career in elementary education, but is open to all students. The suggested sequence is PHYS 111, BIOL 111, EASC 111.


Prerequisite: Appropriate placement or grade of 2.0 or higher in ENGL 099 and MATH 98. PHYS 111 recommended.

Additional Course Details

Contact Hours (based on 11 week quarter)

Lecture: 44

Lab: 22

Other: 0

Systems: 0

Clinical: 0

Intent: Distribution Requirement(s) Status:  

Academic Natural Sciences  

Equivalencies At Other Institutions

Other Institution Equivalencies Table
Institution Course # Remarks

Learning Outcomes

After completing this course, the student will be able to:

  1. Appreciate that science is a universal language that transcends race, cultures, and geography.
  2. Experience different learning styles through group work in discussion and laboratory activities.
  3. Believe that scientific literacy is possible for any person.
  4. Develop hypotheses and design experiments to answer basic questions they have identified.
  5. Construct models explaining the components of systems and their interactions.
  6. Read and interpret scientific data presented graphically including maps.
  7. Demonstrate understanding that sufficient data and multiple fundamental scientific theories are needed to explain complex systems and that these theories evolve.
  8. Interpret simple observations to demonstrate understanding of the state and/or structure of matter in Earth materials including minerals, rocks, the oceans, clouds, planets, stars, etc.
  9. Demonstrate understanding of the source(s) of-, and role(s) of energy in processes that modify Earth materials.
  10. Demonstrate understanding of the influence humans have on Earth systems through use and misuse of energy and Earth materials.
  11. Identify ways that Earth processes (energy) and distribution of Earth materials influence human culture

General Education Learning Values & Outcomes

Revised August 2008 and affects outlines for 2008 year 1 and later.

2. Critical Thinking

Definition: The ability to think critically about the nature of knowledge within a discipline and about the ways in which that knowledge is constructed and validated and to be sensitive to the ways these processes often vary among disciplines.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
2.8 Describe how one’s own preconceptions, biases and values affect one’s response to new and ambiguous situations.
2.9 Apply and/or create problem-solving strategies to successfully adapt to unpredictable and/or changing environments.

9. Scientific Literacy

Definition: Understanding scientific principles, and analyzing and applying scientific information in a variety of contexts.

Outcomes: Students will be able to . . .
9.4 Use scientific concepts and principles to understand the natural world, human behavior and culture, and relationships between humans and the rest of the natural world.
9.5 Demonstrate an understanding of the political and ethical issues in science.

Course Contents

  1. The Earth exists in a solar system, consisting of a star (the Sun) and nine major planets, that resides in the Milky Way galaxy, consisting of hundreds of billions of stars, which in turn resides in the Universe, consisting of billions of galaxies.
  2. The Earth consists of interrelated subsystems: the solid Earth, the atmosphere, the oceans, the hydrosphere, and the biosphere (life), which are all continuously interacting and changing.
  3. Outward transfer of heat (energy) from Earth’s interior causes numerous observable phenomena including:
    • motion of Earth’s plates
    • mountain formation
    • volcanism
    • earthquakes
    • concentration of resource minerals
    • availability of energy resources
  4. Solar energy drives water, wind, and ice movement, which play large roles in modifying the Earth’s surface, and in redistributing heat energy.
  5. Physical evidence, such as fossils, relationships between rock units, and radioisotopic dating, support the idea that Earth has changed (evolved) over billions of years.
  6. Short-term (e.g. weather) and long-term (e.g. climate) changes in the atmosphere result from changes in the energy budget of the planet and from interactions with the solid Earth, hydrosphere, biosphere, and extraterrestrial systems.