You are on page 1of 10



Dr. Homer Montgomery
Cell phone 469.951.8110
Office phone 972.883.2480
Office FN 3.308L
Office Hours in person Wednesday 8:00-11:00 / Other times by appointment
Other Information Please get in touch whenever you have questions.

Pre-requisites, Co-requisites

Course Description
• Rockin' Around Texas provides wide-ranging discussions of the theories of the origin and
modification of the earth through time.
• Each class is designed as a student-centered encounter with the underpinnings of earth science.
• Students will complete assignments designed to build their overall expertise. Each will be based
on readings of research and research syntheses.
• Field trips are offered to provide hands-on experiences.
• All participants will engage in probing discussions and activities.
• We will encounter both topical and controversial issues.

• This class is grounded in a problem based learning format and will be learner-centered and
focused on group activities.
• You will frequently need to conduct online research.
• Each student has a responsibility to attend class and to be prepared.
• An online discussion board on eLearning will be maintained. This is a great place to get a concept
explained by another student. Your professor monitors the discussions.
• Each student will complete assignments within as diverse a context as possible (see below).
Several involve presentations.
• Participating in field work is fundamental to success.
• Group work completing major assignments is the main component of this course. Among other
assessments of performance (see the rubrics) is a contribution and cooperation grade.
Books and Resources
1. Roadside Geology of Texas by Darwin Spearing, Mountain Press
2. Rock Kit from the Texas Bureau of Economic Geology LINK
3. Field Equipment (clipboard, graph paper, mechanical and colored pencils, 10x hand lens or
pocket magnifier)

Dear Dr. Montgomery,
The State Board of Education (SBOE) approved the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills (TEKS) for a
fourth year Earth and Space Science course which was implemented in the 2010-2011 school year. In
addition, the new middle school science TEKS include an increased emphasis on earth science at grade
8. Traditionally earth science has been the area with which students in Texas have had the most difficulty
according to the TAKS test data at grades 5 and 8. This increased emphasis on earth science at the
secondary level, with continued emphasis at grades K-5, has resulted in a critical need for geology
resources for Texas teachers. I would like your assistance in developing an online portfolio of resources
that teachers in Texas can access in order to acquire the skills and understandings needed to be able to
lead a geology field experience anywhere in the state of Texas. I understand that you will be teaching a
course on the Rocks of Texas as a part of your Master of Arts in Science Education Program. I hope you
will enlist the help of your students in developing the online portfolio of resources and instructional
information. With the recent decision by the SBOE to delay the science textbook adoption, the
development of earth science resources is essential in order to meet the needs of our teachers and
Dr. Pierre Roches, Director
Texas Board of Earth Science Education

ASSESSMENTS (there are no formal exams in this course)

See details on Week by Week page
Grading (credit out of 100 total possible points)
1. Projects 100 points (see Week by Week listing)
2. eLearnign discussions. Please ask questions and interact with your professor and with the other
students. Post relevant messages several times each week for full credit. Off-topic posts or no
post at all will accumulate no points. You are expected to participate in the discussions. Non-
participation will result in a loss of points to your final grade with the calculation based on the
average participation of the average stduent in the class. The maximum loss is 20 points for non-
1. Students will appreciate earth science not only as inspired inquiry but they will understand the
subject within its historical and social perspectives.
2. Students will study and thoroughly consider the ideas of natural selection, sexual selection,
speciation,and evolutionary patterns. They will be able to credibly discuss evolution and the
operant mechanisms.
3. Students will apply their learning and understanding to a real world research project that they


Topics, Reading Assignments, Due Dates, Etc.
Class topics, readings, pertinent links and assignments for each week are below. You may need to look
up some terminology. There are several good sources for this task. You might also want to augment your
notes with online sites and post the URLs on the discussion board. Remember to stick with reputable
sites such as those produced by museums, universities, and the like.

Week Topic of Week Assignments Due @ Midnight on: Assignments Due (see below)

Jan 11 Problem 1 See Week by Week listing

Jan 18 Problem 1 See Week by Week listing

Jan 25 Problem 1 Jan 30 See Week by Week listing

Feb 1 Problem 2 See Week by Week listing

Feb 8 Problem 2 Feb 13 See Week by Week listing

Feb 15 Problem 3 See Week by Week listing

Feb 22 Problem 3 Feb 27 See Week by Week listing

Mar 1 Problem 4 Mar 6 See Week by Week listing

Mar 8 Problem 5 See Week by Week listing

Mar 15 Spring Break None

Mar 22 Problem 5 Mar 27 See Week by Week listing

Mar 29 Problem 6 See Week by Week listing

Apr 5 Problem 6 See Week by Week listing

Apr 12 Problem 6 Apr 24 See Week by Week listing

Apr 19 Problem 7 See Week by Week listing

Apr 26 Problem 7 May 1 See Week by Week listing

Problem 8 May 5 See Week by Week listing

Overall Goal: Develop a bank of resources and instructional materials to equip earth science teachers
with what is needed to lead geology field trips anywhere in Texas.
Driving Question: What tools, resources and understandings are needed in order to lead a geology field
trip anywhere in Texas? All activities will feed into producing a Virtual FIeld Trip (VFT) to the Big Bend of
Texas. This is the major focus of the course.

Problem 1: What is the geologic history of Texas? This problem should be considered as an
overview. Detail and depth will come later. (3 weeks)
Possible Resources:
1. Rock and fossil collections.
2. Scotese plate tectonic animations.
3. Websites for universities, museums, appropriate organizations.
4. Peer-reviewed publications (McDermott Library).
5. Roadside Geology of Texas.
1. Animation that explains the geologic history of TX. (3) - numbers in parentheses are the point
2. Interactive VFT website additions. (4)
1. Notebook check (you will have a great deal of organized notebook work as you document field
experiences, lab work, research, and other activities). A "notebook" can also be digital. (3)
Notes: Each group will self-assign a particular time to report out to the class. In addition to the project,
students will be required to post a reflective piece on a collaborative class portfolio. The reflective piece
must synthesize the ideas from all group presentations. Grading is via rubric.
Problem 2: How can sedimentary rocks of Texas be identified? (2 weeks)
Possible Resources:
1. Bureau of Economic Geology rock and mineral kits.
2. Rock collection for this class.
3. Rock/mineral identification kits.
4. Hand lens.
5. Rock hammer.
6. Large maps of regional/state/local geology.
Notes: The sedimentary rocks provided tell a detailed story. You may also bring your own Texas rocks
and fossils to the table. What you learn in the lab setting will also apply later.
1. Notebook check. (3)
2. Interpretations of provided samples. (2)
3. Additions to the VFT portfolio connecting what was learned about sedimentary rocks to the prior
understanding of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
4. Additions to the sample library that will accompany the VFT. (1)
Note: This preparation is critical to undertaking Problem 3 and beyond. Without this background the rest
of the course will be a struggle.
Problem 3: How do geologists construct and interpret stratigraphic columns? (2 weeks)
Resources and Experiences:
1. Required 1st field trip (half day Saturday) to observe sedimentary geology and to construct
stratigraphic columns.
2. TXESS Revolution materials.
3. Activity - How can superposition be used to determine relative age?
4. Activity - How do weathering and erosion work in tandem and what are the products?
5. Required 2nd field trip (half day Saturday) to observe and quantify principles of sedimentary
1. Notebook check. (3)
2. Detailed stratigraphic columns will be required. The assessment of the stratigraphic column will
include sequencing, correct identification of rocks, unconformities, descriptions of each unit,
scale, dip and strike, GPS coordinates, etc. (4)
3. Additions to the portfolio connecting what was learned about the geology of the local area to the
prior understanding of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
Problem 4: How can igneous and metamorphic rocks of Texas be identified and interpreted? (1
Resources and Experiences:
1. Work with the suite of samples from the central Texas area.
1. Notebook check. (3)
2. Additions to the VFT connecting what was learned about the geology of Central Texas to the prior
understanding of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
3. Additions to the sample library that will accompany the VFT. (3)
Problem 5: How do paleontologists interpret fossil evidence? (2 weeks)
Possible Resources and Ideas:
1. Indicators of specific sedimentary environments.
2. Time/sed./fossil correlation utilizing index fossils.
3. Revisit superposition with a paleontological perspective.
4. Resources for “virtual” field trip or various fossil sites around UTD.
5. Refer to material collected on our field trips.
1. Notebook check. (3)
2. Additions to the VFT portfolio connecting what was learned about fossils to the prior
understandings of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
3. Additions to the sample library that will accompany the VFT. (1)
Problem 6: Interpretation of the geology of the Big Bend region (3 weeks)
Possible Resources and Ideas:
1. Bureau of Economic Geology publications.
2. Theses and dissertations.
3. Appropriate websites.
4. Samples, publications, photographs, etc. from Dr. Montgomery.
1. Notebook check. (3)
2. Additions to the VFT portfolio connecting what was learned about the Big Bend region to the prior
understandings of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
3. Begin constructing a proper field trip guide for your own classes. (3)
Note: Several items each summer Dr. Montgomery works in the Big Bend region. You are most welcome
to come our, observe the geology, collect samples, participate in ongoing research, etc. We have a
research facility near Terlingua where we stay. More details will be forthcoming in class.
Problem 7: Modern Geologic Processes (2 weeks)
Possible Resources and Ideas:
1. Weekend trip to Galveston to observe moderns processes.
2. Cores provided for paleotempestology mini-project.
3. Manuals, field guides, theses, dissertations, peer-reviewed publications, etc.
4. Error! Hyperlink reference not valid.
5. GLO website (State of Texas).
6. Dr. Montgomery will help identify the microfossils.
1. Notebook checks. (3)
2. Additions to the VFT portfolio connecting what was learned about modern geologic processes to
the prior understandings of the geologic history of Texas. (4)
3. Field trip guide for your own classes (must include an introduction to social and economic
perspectives). (15)
Problem 8: Culminating Project - Putting it All Together (1 week)
1. What tools, resources, and understandings are needed in order to lead a geology field trip
anywhere in Texas? (10)
Review and assessment of the VFT products. (10)

Make-up Assignments
None without prior approval of instructor

Extra Credit

Late Work
Accepted only with appropriate written excuse

Special Assignments

Classroom Citizenship
Respect should be shown at all times.

Student Conduct and Discipline

The University of Texas System and The University of Texas at Dallas have rules and regulations for the
orderly and efficient conduct of their business. It is the responsibility of each student and each student
organization to be knowledgeable about the rules and regulations that govern student conduct and
activities. General information on student conduct and discipline is contained in the UTD publication, A to
Z. Guide, which is provided to all registered students each academic year.
The University of Texas at Dallas administers student discipline within the procedures of recognized and
established due process. Procedures are defined and described in the Rules and Regulations, Board of
Regents, The University of Texas System, Part 1, Chapter VI, Section 3, and in Title V, Rules on Student
Services and Activities of the university's Handbook of Operating Procedures. Copies of these rules and
regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students, where staff members are
available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations (SU 1.602, 972/883-6391).
A student at the university neither loses the rights nor escapes the responsibilities of citizenship. He or
she is expected to obey federal, state, and local laws as well as the Regents' Rules, university
regulations, and administrative rules. Students are subject to discipline for violating the standards of
conduct whether such conduct takes place on or off campus, or whether civil or criminal penalties are
also imposed for such conduct.

Academic Integrity
The faculty expects from its students a high level of responsibility and academic honesty. Because the
value of an academic degree depends upon the absolute integrity of the work done by the student for that
degree, it is imperative that a student demonstrate a high standard of individual honor in his or her
scholastic work.
Scholastic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, statements, acts, or omissions related to applications
for enrollment or the award of a degree, and/or the submission as one's own work or material that is not
one's own. As a general rule, scholastic dishonesty involves one of the following acts: cheating,
plagiarism, collusion, and/or falsifying academic records. Students suspected of academic dishonesty are
subject to disciplinary proceedings.
Plagiarism, especially from the Web, from portions of papers for other classes, and from any other source
is unacceptable and will be dealt with under the university's policy on plagiarism (see general catalog for
details). This course will use the resources of, which searches the web for possible
plagiarism and is over 90% effective.

Email Use
The University of Texas at Dallas recognizes the value and efficiency of communication between
faculty/staff and students through electronic mail. At the same time, email raises some issues concerning
security and the identity of each individual in an email exchange. The university encourages all official
student email correspondence be sent only to a student's U.T. Dallas email address, and that faculty and
staff consider email from students official only if it originates from a UTD student account. This allows the
university to maintain a high degree of confidence in the identity of all individuals corresponding and the
security of the transmitted information. UTD furnishes each student with a free email account that is to be
used in all communication with university personnel. The Department of Information Resources at U.T.
Dallas provides a method for students to have their U.T. Dallas mail forwarded to other accounts.

Withdrawal from Class

The administration of this institution has set deadlines for withdrawal of any college-level courses. These
dates and times are published in that semester's course catalog. Administration procedures must be
followed. It is the student's responsibility to handle withdrawal requirements from any class. In other
words, I cannot drop or withdraw any student. You must do the proper paperwork to ensure that you will
not receive a final grade of F in a course if you choose not to attend the class once you are enrolled.

Student Grievance Procedures

Procedures for student grievances are found in Title V, Rules on Student Services and Activities, of the
university's Handbook of Operating Procedures.
In attempting to resolve any student grievance regarding grades, evaluations, or other fulfillments of
academic responsibility, it is the obligation of the student first to make a serious effort to resolve the
matter with the instructor, supervisor, administrator, or committee with whom the grievance originates
(hereafter called “the respondent”). Individual faculty members retain primary responsibility for assigning
grades and evaluations. If the matter cannot be resolved at that level, the grievance must be submitted in
writing to the respondent with a copy to the respondent's School Dean. If the matter is not resolved by the
written response provided by the respondent, the student may submit a written appeal to the School
Dean. If the grievance is not resolved by the School Dean's decision, the student may make a written
appeal to the Dean of Graduate or Undergraduate Education, and the dean will appoint and convene an
Academic Appeals Panel. The decision of the Academic Appeals Panel is final. The results of the
academic-appeals process will be distributed to all involved parties.
Copies of these rules and regulations are available to students in the Office of the Dean of Students,
where staff members are available to assist students in interpreting the rules and regulations.

Incomplete Grades
As per university policy, incomplete grades will be granted only for work unavoidably missed at the
semester's end and only if 70% of the course work has been completed. An incomplete grade must be
resolved within eight (8) weeks from the first day of the subsequent long semester. If the required work to
complete the course and to remove the incomplete grade is not submitted by the specified deadline, the
incomplete grade is changed automatically to a grade of F.

Disability Services
The goal of Disability Services is to provide students with disabilities educational opportunities equal to
those of their non-disabled peers. Disability Services is located in room 1.610 in the Student Union. Office
hours are Monday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 7:30
p.m.; and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
The contact information for the Office of Disability Services is:
The University of Texas at Dallas, SU 22
PO Box 830688
Richardson, Texas 75083-0688
(972) 883-2098 (voice or TTY)
Essentially, the law requires that colleges and universities make those reasonable adjustments necessary
to eliminate discrimination on the basis of disability. For example, it may be necessary to remove
classroom prohibitions against tape recorders or animals (in the case of dog guides) for students who are
blind. Occasionally an assignment requirement may be substituted (for example, a research paper versus
an oral presentation for a student who is hearing impaired). Classes enrolling students with mobility
impairments may have to be rescheduled in accessible facilities. The college or university may need to
provide special services such as registration, note-taking, or mobility assistance.
It is the student's responsibility to notify his or her professors of the need for such an accommodation.
Disability Services provides students with letters to present to faculty members to verify that the student
has a disability and needs accommodations. Individuals requiring special accommodation should contact
the professor after class or during office hours.

Religious Holy Days

The University of Texas at Dallas will excuse a student from class or other required activities for the travel
to and observance of a religious holy day for a religion whose places of worship are exempt from property
tax under Section 11.20, Tax Code, Texas Code Annotated.
The student is encouraged to notify the instructor or activity sponsor as soon as possible regarding the
absence, preferably in advance of the assignment. The student, so excused, will be allowed to take the
exam or complete the assignment within a reasonable time after the absence: a period equal to the length
of the absence, up to a maximum of one week. A student who notifies the instructor and completes any
missed exam or assignment may not be penalized for the absence. A student who fails to complete the
exam or assignment within the prescribed period may receive a failing grade for that exam or assignment.
If a student or an instructor disagrees about the nature of the absence [i.e., for the purpose of observing a
religious holy day] or if there is similar disagreement about whether the student has been given a
reasonable time to complete any missed assignments or examinations, either the student or the instructor
may request a ruling from the chief executive officer of the institution, or his or her designee. The chief
executive officer or designee must take into account the legislative intent of TEC 51.911(b), and the
student and instructor will abide by the decision of the chief executive officer or designee.
Off-campus instruction and course activities that are off-campus, out-of-state, or foreign are all subject to
state law and University policies and procedures regarding travel and risk-related activities. Information
regarding these rules and regulations may be found at Additional information is available from the
office of the school dean.
These descriptions and timelines are subject to change at the discretion of the professor.