Physics

PHY 103: Final Project Guidelines and Rubric

Overview
The final project for this course is the creation of a preliminary report of environmental findings.

The final project encompasses several Earth science processes that form the foundation of geosciences work—from understanding how human activities change a landscape to mitigating potential natural hazards to addressing the impacts of weather and climate. Students apply geologic science in a practical manner. For example, as a spatial analysis technician uses knowledge of water drainage, underlying geology, soils, and weather components to design and place roads, houses, power lines, and drainage systems in a new neighborhood, you will draw on the knowledge gained in this course to create the final project.

Understanding Earth system processes is critical for projects such as bridge design, soil or water contamination studies, analyzing climate change, and developing policies that safeguard both humans and their environment.

For this assessment, you will apply the Earth systems information learned throughout the course by assuming the role of an intern at an environmental consulting firm. You will be charged with conducting basic background research for an environmental report the company is preparing for a client in relation to the development of a subdivision. The supervisor has asked you to prepare a preliminary report that the firm can eventually incorporate into its report to communicate the findings to the client. The report should cover the basic geomorphology and climate for the area and highlight what these factors suggest for the planned subdivision in broad terms, using the provided documents—the geological cross section, topographical maps, historical data on volcanos and earthquakes, regional weather information, and stream discharge data. (Note that the location in this scenario is fictitious, although the landscape includes elements of the real world, and weather and climate data are representative of the region.)

The project is divided into three milestones, which will be submitted at various points throughout the course to scaffold learning and ensure quality final submissions. These milestones will be submitted in Modules Two, Four, and Six. The final submission will be in Module Seven.

In this assignment, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following course outcomes:

· Draw basic connections between the Earth’s spheres for their implications on human activities

· Utilize basic geoscience information and data in determining how environmental settings are shaped by landform processes

· Connect key lithospheric processes to the theory of plate tectonics for determining the potential for natural hazards

· Analyze local weather patterns by summarizing how fundamental atmospheric processes create resultant weather and climate

Prompt
Imagine you are an intern working for an environmental consulting firm. One of the firm’s clients is considering building a subdivision and has asked the firm to evaluate a potential site. Your supervisor has asked you to start laying initial groundwork for the report by conducting basic background research on the geological and climate features of the site. Use the materials listed below (found in the Assignment Guidelines and Rubrics folder) to prepare a preliminary report of your findings, highlighting any issues or concerns.

· Final Project Historical Data

· Final Project Climograph

· Final Project Walterville Topographic Map

· Final Project Stratigraphy and Cross Section

· Final Project Soil Profiles

· Final Project Site Topographic Map

Specifically, your preliminary report of environmental findings must address the following critical elements:

I. Executive Summary. Begin your report with a brief executive summary that identifies the project being proposed by the client, what your report covers, and your most important findings. Your goal is to provide a clear, concise snapshot of the report’s content for those who may not have time to read the full report. Although this is the first element of the report, it is often helpful to write it last, once your analysis is complete.

II. Basic Geology. Examine the stratigraphy and cross section provided, and complete the tasks listed below.

a. Accurately identify the types of rocks in the stratigraphy and whether the types are igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary. You may also want to discuss what the cross section tells you about the relative age of the rocks.

b. Describe any changes in the rock types and their properties by depth. What causes these types of changes? You may also want to consider other features in the stratigraphy, such as anticlines, synclines, or nonconformities.

c. Determine what rock subtypes are present, describing key features and how and why they occur. For example, are the rocks extrusive, intrusive, foliated, or detrital?

d. What might the stratigraphy and rock types imply for the development of the subdivision in broad terms? Use your knowledge of Earth system processes to support your response.

e. Use information on the soil depth and slope across the cross section to discuss the potential for erosion. In other words, is there a risk that the soil on the site will wash away? Why or why not?

III. Streams. Use the topographical map provided to examine the stream system(s) of the proposed location. Be sure to:

a. Identify landscape features that were shaped by the stream system and explain how and why those landscapes might change based on stream processes. For example, what areas of the proposed development site are affected by erosion, landslides, or the deposit of sediments? Why? How might that change?

b. Analyze how stream bank erosion is likely to affect the development of the floodplain. In other words, what areas on the site are at risk of flooding now or in the future? Explain your answer using Earth science principles.

IV. Tectonics. Use the topographical and regional maps and historical data on earthquakes and volcanos provided to determine the following:

a. What type of faults, if any, are present in the area, and how do they affect landform processes? In other words, might faults change the landscape at the site? Be sure to use geoscience concepts to explain how you arrived at your answer. (If no faults are present, you should still explain how you determined this and how faults would have affected landform processes if they were present.)

b. Is the location likely to be affected by earthquakes? Explain your conclusions, including the Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about the likely frequency and severity of quakes. You may want to calculate a simple recurrence interval to help support your answer.

c. Does the location face any volcanic threats? Explain your conclusions, including the Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about the likely frequency and severity of eruptions. You may want to calculate a simple recurrence interval to help support your answer.

V. Weather. Use the climograph and weather data provided to complete the tasks listed below.

a. Describe the average monthly temperature and precipitation values and annual totals (average highs, lows, and precipitation for the year). How and why do these figures vary by season? You may want to discuss polar front theory in your response.

b. Which types of storms are common in the region by season? What types of weather are associated with these storms? Explain your answer using relevant Earth science processes.

c. What is the maximum recorded precipitation amount and type? What type of weather system caused the extreme situation? You may also want discuss the Earth science processes that gave rise to the extreme weather event.

d. How frequently do extreme precipitation events occur? In other words, is the location frequently subject to large storms? Use the storm data provided to calculate a simple recurrence interval to support your answer. Be sure to explain how you arrived at your calculation.

e. Analyze the monthly stream discharge data provided. How does stream discharge relate to the monthly weather and climate data, and how does that affect surrounding landscapes? Explain your answer using relevant Earth science processes.

VI. Analysis of Findings. Summarize what your preliminary findings on the basic geomorphology and climate for the proposed location suggest with respect to the planned development. In other words, is the area a good location for a subdivision? Why or why not?

Milestone One: Geologic Analysis

Milestones
In Module Two, you will submit your geologic analysis. You will write a report detailing the underlying geology of the project site. Using the cross section, topographic map, and soil profile for your preliminary report on environmental findings, be sure to fully explain any geologic features present and include elements relative to the formation of those features. Also, detail how you derived each of your conclusions. Lastly, discuss how the base geology might relate to the proposed surface development. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone One Rubric.

Milestone Two: Streams and Tectonics Analysis

In Module Four, you will submit your streams and tectonics analysis. You will write a report that details elements of the surface landscape and larger scale tectonics for the project site. Using the materials for the subdivision project, you will be asked to properly analyze a topographic map in addition to historical data on regional earthquakes and volcanos. You must explain all landscape features and describe how each element formed. Further, you will be asked to detail aspects of the fluvial and tectonic landscape relative to the proposed human development and discuss how you came to your conclusions. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone Two Rubric.

Milestone Three: Weather Analysis

In Module Six, you will submit a weather analysis. You will generate a report detailing climatic and weather elements of the proposed development site. You will use the weather data and climographs from the proposed subdivision to create an accurate description of atmospheric elements (such as base climatology and storm types/magnitudes/frequencies) and relate extreme precipitation events to the landscape and fluvial systems. This milestone will be graded with the Milestone Three Rubric.

Final Project Submission: Preliminary Report of Environmental Findings

In Module Seven, you will submit preliminary report of environmental findings. It should be a complete, polished artifact containing all of the critical elements of the final product. It should reflect the incorporation of feedback gained throughout the course. This submission will be graded with the Final Project Rubric.

Deliverables
Milestone

Deliverable

Module Due

Grading

1

Geologic Analysis

Two

Graded separately; Milestone One Rubric

2

Streams and Tectonics Analysis

Four

Graded separately; Milestone Two Rubric

3

Weather Analysis

Six

Graded separately; Milestone Three Rubric

Final Project Submission: Preliminary Report of Environmental Findings

Seven

Graded separately; Final Project Rubric

Final Project Rubric

Guidelines for Submission: Your preliminary report of environmental findings must be six to eight pages in length (in addition to a cover page and references) and must be written in APA format. Use double spacing, 12-point Times New Roman font, and one-inch margins. Include at least three references, which must be cited in APA format.

Instructor Feedback: This activity uses an integrated rubric in Blackboard. Students can view instructor feedback in the Grade Center. For more information, review these instructions.

Critical Elements

Exemplary (100%)

Proficient (85%)

Needs Improvement (55%)

Not Evident (0%)

Value

Executive Summary

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and summary is clear and organized, modeling real-world geoscience language and style

Begins report with brief executive summary, including project being proposed by client, what report covers, and most important findings

Begins report with executive summary, but response is lengthy or does not include project being proposed, what report covers, and most important findings

Does not begin report with executive summary

5

Basic Geology: Types of Rocks

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response discusses what cross section indicates about the relative age of the rocks

Accurately identifies the types of rocks in the stratigraphy and whether the types are igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary

Identifies types of rocks but does not specify whether types are igneous, metamorphic, or sedimentary, or response contains inaccuracies

Does not identify types of rocks in the stratigraphy

4.5

Basic Geology: Changes

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response considers other features in stratigraphy such as anticlines, synclines, or nonconformities

Describes any changes in the rock types and their properties by depth and what causes these types of changes

Describes changes in rock types and properties by depth but does not explain what causes these types of changes, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not describe changes in rock types and properties by depth

4.5

Basic Geology: Rock Subtypes

Meets “Proficient” and includes a detailed and nuanced explanation of subtypes, their features, and the Earth processes that give rise to them

Determines what rock subtypes are present, describing key features and how and why they occur

Determines what rock subtypes are present but does not describe key features and how and why they occur, or explanation contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not determine what rock subtypes are present

4.5

Basic Geology: Implication

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and analysis is particularly detailed and clear

Analyzes what the stratigraphy and rock types might imply for the development of the subdivision in broad terms, using Earth system processes to support response

Analyzes what the stratigraphy and rock types might imply for the subdivision but does not use Earth system processes to support response, or response contains inaccuracies

Does not analyze what the stratigraphy and rock types might imply for the development of the subdivision

6

Basic Geology: Soil Depth and Slope

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and includes a detailed and nuanced explanation of the relationships between soil depth, slope, water drainage, and precipitation in the erosion process

Uses information on soil depth and slope across the cross section to discuss the potential for erosion

Uses information on soil depth and slope to discuss potential for erosion, but response omits information on some segments of the cross section or contains inaccuracies

Does not use information on the soil depth and slope to discuss the potential for erosion

6

Streams: Landscape Features

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and description is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Identifies landscape features shaped by stream system(s) and explains how and why those landscapes might change based on stream processes

Identifies landscape features shaped by the stream system(s) but does not explain how and why those might change based on stream processes, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not identify landscape features that were shaped by the stream system

4.5

Streams: Floodplain

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Analyzes how stream bank erosion is likely to affect development of floodplain and explains answer using Earth science principles

Analyzes how stream bank erosion is likely to affect development of floodplain but does not explain answer using Earth science principles, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not analyze how stream bank erosion is likely to affect the development of the floodplain

4.5

Tectonics: Faults

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Determines what type of faults, if any, are present in the area and how they affect (or would affect) landform processes, using geoscience concepts to explain how arrived at answer

Determines what type of faults, if any, are present in the area and how they affect (or would affect) landform processes but does not use geoscience concepts to explain how arrived at answer, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not determine what type of faults, if any, are present in the area and how they affect (or would affect) landform processes

7.5

Tectonics: Earthquakes

Meets “Proficient” criteria and uses a simple recurrence interval in supporting an answer that is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Analyzes whether the location is likely to be affected by earthquakes, including Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about likely frequency and severity of quakes

Analyzes whether the location is likely to be affected by earthquakes but does not include Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about frequency and severity, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not analyze whether the location is likely to be affected by earthquakes

7.5

Tectonics: Volcanic Threats

Meets “Proficient” criteria and uses a simple recurrence interval in supporting an answer that is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Analyzes whether the location faces volcanic threats, including Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about likely frequency and severity of eruptions

Analyzes whether the location faces volcanic threats, but does not include Earth processes involved and scientifically supported observations about frequency and severity, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not analyze whether the location faces volcanic threats

7.5

Weather: Temperature and Precipitation

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear, discussing how polar front theory affects weather

Describes average monthly temperature and precipitation values and annual totals, explaining how and why figures vary by season

Describes average monthly temperature and precipitation values and annual totals but does not explain how and why figures vary by season, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not describe average monthly temperature and precipitation values and annual totals

6

Weather: Storms

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and response is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Identifies types of storms and associated weather common in the region by season, explaining answer using relevant Earth science processes

Identifies types of storms and associated weather common in the region by season but does not explain answer using relevant Earth science processes, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not identify types of storms and associated weather common in the region by season

6

Weather: Maximum Recorded Precipitation

Meets “Proficient” criteria and includes a clear and detailed explanation of the Earth science processes that gave rise to the extreme weather event

Specifies the maximum recorded precipitation amount and type and explains what type of weather system caused the extreme situation

Specifies maximum recorded precipitation amount and type but does not explain what type of weather system caused the situation, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not specify maximum recorded precipitation amount and type

6

Weather: Extreme Precipitation Events

Meets “Proficient” criteria and includes a clear and detailed explanation of how extreme events are linked to regional circulation or climatology

Determines how frequently extreme precipitation events occur, calculating a simple recurrence interval based on storm data to support answer and explaining how arrived at calculation

Determines how frequently extreme precipitation events occur but does not calculate a simple recurrence interval based on data and explain how arrived at calculation, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not determine how frequently extreme precipitation events occur

6

Weather: Stream Discharge

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and explanation of relationships between climate and surface processes is particularly detailed, nuanced, and clear

Analyzes how monthly stream discharge relates to weather and climate data and how that affects surrounding landscapes, explaining answer using relevant Earth science processes

Analyzes how monthly stream discharge relates to weather and climate data and how that affects surrounding landscapes but does not explain answer using relevant Earth science processes, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not analyze how monthly stream discharge relates to weather and climate data and how that affects surrounding landscapes

5

Analysis of Findings

Meets “Proficient” criteria, and summary is clear, organized, and succinct, modeling real-world geoscience language and style

Summarizes findings with respect to whether the area is a good location for a subdivision, justifying why or why not

Summarizes findings with respect to whether the area is a good location for a subdivision but does not justify why or why not, or response contains inaccuracies or omits critical information

Does not summarize findings with respect to whether the area is a good location for the subdivision

4

Articulation of Response

Submission is free of errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, and organization and is presented in a professional and easy to read format

Submission has no major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization

Submission has major errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that negatively impact readability and articulation of main ideas

Submission has critical errors related to citations, grammar, spelling, syntax, or organization that prevent understanding of ideas

5

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