Apr 14, 2024  
College Catalog 2021-2022 
College Catalog 2021-2022 [ARCHIVED CATALOG]

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GEOG 1800 - Physical Geography

Credit Hours: 4.00

Prerequisites: None

Physical geography introduces the four spatial dimensions of earth’s atmosphere, hydrosphere, lithosphere, and biosphere.  Students explore the fundamentals of physical geography through scientific lecture and laboratory work as they investigate the interrelationships of the physical and functional realms.

Billable Contact Hours: 4

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Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to diagram the earth’s dynamic systems.


1. Identify the four physical spheres.
2. Explain the scientific correlation and development of the spheres.
3. Identify and illustrate the fundamentals of the earth’s grid coordinates and important lines of latitude. 


Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to summarize Earth-Sun relationships.


1. Calculate and illustrate the earth’s global energy balance.
2. Identify conditions during Equinox & Solstice periods (the seasons) of the year.


Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to diagram the earth’s atmospheric and hydrospheric patterns.


1. Identify current conditions and forecast weather using maps and basic meteorological skills.
2. Illustrate  global wind, ocean current, and air pressure systems.
3. Understand and diagram the water cycle.


Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to interpret global climates and natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change.


1. Classify and identify the geographic distribution of climates using the Koppen system.
2. Identify geographic controls of major climates.
3. Identify and discuss the potential impacts on physical and human systems of projected increases in CO2 emissions and global average surface temperatures.


Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to organize lithospheric activity.


1. Identify patterns and determine the main characteristics of soil taxonomy.
2. Summarize continental drift,  tectonic plate boundaries, common tectonic features, and the effect they have on the global distribution of landforms.
3. Identify the numerous features of a mass movement using morphological vocabulary.
4. Discuss the natural and human contributing variables to mass-movement events, as well as the triggering mechanisms.


Outcome 6: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to organize the ecosystems and biogeographical cycles into interrelated systems.


1. Classify characteristics and controls of plant species using precipitation, soil, and topographic data.
2.  Summarize common vegetation and geography of specific biomes.


Outcome 7: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to evaluate the use of geographic approaches as they apply to natural phenomena.


1. Use the basics of the scientific method through hands-on laboratory experiences.
2. Interpret observations and analyze diverse data sets through scientific investigations.
3. Demonstrate the utility of spatial and temporal scales of inquiry
4. Apply techniques of imaging the earth through the use and application of self-made maps, topographic maps, satellite imagery, and geographic information systems (GIS).

• Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
• Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
• Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
• Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
• Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
• Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.

CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Communication: YES
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES
1. Earth Imagery and Mapping

     a. Conceptual geography and the scientific method

     b. Earth’s major systems

     c. Latitude & longitude

     d. Remote Sensing

     e. Geographic Information Systems (GIS)

2. Atmospheric systems

     a. Composition of the atmosphere

     b. Seasons and solar energy

     c. Hydrologic cycle

     d. Wind circulation systems

     e. Storms and major weather events

     f. Climate change

3. Biogeography

     a. Patterns of biodiversity

     b. Biome classifications

     c. Soil and water resources

     d. Ocean ecosystems

4. Tectonic system

     a. Geologic time

     b. Earth’s internal structure

     c. Plate tectonics

     d. Rocks and minerals

     e. Geohazards (volcanoes and earthquakes)

5. Erosion and deposition

     a. Weathering and mass movement

     b. Fluvial systems

     c. Glacial landforms

     d. Desert landforms

     e. Coastal landforms


Primary Faculty
West, Rebecca
Secondary Faculty

Associate Dean
Williams-Chehmani, Angie
Pritchett, Marie

Official Course Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088

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