General Physical Science (G.P.S.) 1214

Mission: To provide affordable, accessible, and exceptional education that fosters student success

Term: Fall Semester 2017
Course: GPS 1214 General Physical Science with Lab

Instructor Information:

Name: Lynne Balzer
Office Location: 108 Deanna Reed Building, across from main office
Preferred Contact Method: email
Office Phone: 918-647-1409
Office Hours: MWF 9:30 am - 10:30 am

Textbook Information:

The Physical Universe by Conrad B. Krauskopf and Arthur Beiser, 15th Edition, is the basic text for this course. Internet resources will also be provided for supplementary use. Since textbooks are expensive, students could make arrangements for sharing them. Earlier editions of this textbook may be used, although the page numbers for reading assignments would be different.

Course Description:

Designed with a laboratory for non-science majors, this course uses lectures and demonstration to assist students in interpreting physical environment and covers important topics in astronomy, chemistry, geology, and physics. 3 hours Theory and 2 hours Laboratory.

Credit Hours: 4.00 Credits

General Education Outcomes:

Demonstrate knowledge-

  • Demonstration of knowledge results from the appraisal of knowledge and practice of core concepts through analytical, practical, or creative means. Students shall assemble evidence; identify, categorize, and distinguish among ideas, concepts, and theories; and relate and analyze the significant uses of the gathered knowledge.

Think Critically-

  • Critical thinking encompasses the abilities to identify, categorize, synthesize, and distinguish ideas, concepts, theories, and approaches. The presentation, explanation, and analysis of skills acquired in academic settings allow examination of competing hypotheses and non-academic events in light of acquired knowledge and relate the implications of cultural and social perspectives.

Communicate Effectively-

  • Effective communication results from the presentation and expression of concepts encountered in an academic setting in a clear, error-free manner both verbally and in written explanation. Critical aspects are the clear expression of competing hypotheses and perspectives in response to material read, analyzed, or presented in both academic and non-academic settings.

Practice Global and Civic Awareness-

  • Practicing global and civic awareness creates the ability to understand both the student’s own civic and cultural background as well as that of others. This results from the evaluation of historical and contemporary positions on values, practices, assumptions, and predispositions. Encouraging active community participation and cognizance provides insight and expands students’ perspectives and awareness.

Student Learning Outcomes (SLOs):

SLO 1. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to use the scientific method.
-Students will be able to outline the scientific method.
-Students will be able to compare the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems.
-Students will be able to explain the significance of Kepler's laws.
-Students will be able to explain why the Copernican system is correct.

SLO 2. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to use the laws of motion to describe real world objects.
-Students will be able to distinguish between instantaneous and average speed.
-Students will be able to define acceleration.
-Students will be able to explain what is meant by acceleration of gravity.
-Students will be able to explain the effect of air resistance on falling objects.
-Students will be able to define force and indicate its relationship to the first law of motion.
-Students will be able to use the second law of motion.
-Students will be able to explain Newton's third law of motion.

SLO 3. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to investigate how energy interacts in the world.
-Students will be able to compare work, power, energy, temperature, and heat.
-Students will be able to analyze a situation to determine when an object has potential energy, kinetic energy, thermal energy, and rest energy.
-Students will be able to compare different sources of energy, for example coal, oil, natural gas, nuclear, solar, geothermal, hydroelectric, and biofuel.
-Students will be able to describe what happens to a system if the pressure, volume, or temperature changes, for solids, liquids, and gases.
-Students will be able to understand how frequency and energy are connected for electromagnetic waves.
-Students will be able to explain what is happening at the atomic level and macroscopic level to produce energy at a nuclear power plant.

SLO 4. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to compare the parts of an atom and their functions.
-Students will be able to describe the location protons, neutrons, and electrons in an atom.
-Students will be able to identify which subatomic particle is easier to remove.
-Students will be able to determine the charge an atom will have upon the addition or loss of an electron.
-Students will be able to explain what an ion is.
-Students will be able to distinguish between atomic number and mass number.

SLO 5. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to explain chemical phenomena using the periodic table.
-Students will be able to describe reactivity on location in the periodic table.
-Students will be able to list the characteristic properties of the halogen, chalcogen, inert gases, alkali metals, alkaline earth metals.
-Students will be able to distinguish between groups and periods.
-Students will be able to state the periodic law.
-Students will be able to compare how atomic shells relate to periods.
-Students will be able to distinguish metals, nonmetals, metalloids on the periodic table.

SLO 6. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to explain how the atmosphere and weather are interrelated.
-Students will be able to list the four major constituent gases in the atmosphere.
-Students will be able to distinguish the layers of the atmosphere.
-Students will be able to define ozone and its role in the upper atmosphere.
-Students will be able to list the 3 ways in which clouds form.
-Students will be able to describe how rain and snow form.
-Students will be able to describe how the jet stream moves around the earth and its role in weather.
-Students will be able to compare cyclones and anticyclones.

SLO 7. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to explain how geologic processes shaped the earth in the past and continue to shape in the present.
-Students will be able to compare what the 3 types of rock are made of and how they are formed.
-Students will be able to summarize how earthquakes transform the landscape.
-Students will be able to describe chemical and mechanical weathering of rocks.
-Students will be able to discuss river valley development (erosion, deposition, flood plain development etc.).
-Students will be able to compare the shape of river and glacial valleys and how they form.
-Students will be able to identify where volcanoes are typically located and explain why.
-Students will be able to describe how tectonic movement impacts the earth's surface.
-Students will be able to list the evidence for plate tectonics.

SLO 8. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to demonstrate a basic understanding of Astronomy.
-Students will be able to recognize that the Universe can be described by natural laws.
-Students will be able to identify the characteristics of objects within the solar system including the sun, planets, stars, moons, asteroids, and comets.
-Students will be able to demonstrate a basic familiarity with stellar life cycles, galaxies, and extragalactic objects.
-Students will be able to identify the inner and outer planets and distinguish common properties of the members of each group.
-Students will be able to select proper tools of Astronomy and identify their functions.
-Students will be able to outline the life history of an average star like the sun.

Evaluation/Assessment Practices:

A point system is used for grading in this course.

Four exams will be given, including the final test (on the last unit). The exact times of these exams will be announced as the course progresses. No test scores are dropped in this course.

Each exam consists of 50 questions worth two points each, for a total of 100 points. Students will be given the opportunity to earn extra points on exams by answering essay questions. Additional opportunities to earn extra credit points will be provided during this course.

Part of the grade in this course is for participation, which includes correctly answering assigned questions and asking thoughtful questions. Participation also includes simply paying attention.

Ungraded practice tests and quizzes are used throughout the course. These are samples only and not actual test questions. Test questions are designed to determine a student's ability to apply a science concept to a new situation. The student should understand a vocabulary term well enough to be able to explain it in his/her own words, rather than simply memorizing a set definition.

Points will also be earned on quizzes (one point per question), labs, usually worth 10 - 15 points each, depending on the length and requirements of the lab, and homework assignments.

The student's average at any one time is determined by adding the total points s/he has earned up to that date and then dividing this total by the total points that someone making a perfect score on every test, quiz, lab and assignment would have earned (100%). For example, a student who has earned 562 out of 690 possible points would have an average of 562/690 = 81%.

In keeping with the policy of Carl Albert State College, student averages are transferred to letter grades in the following manner:

90% - 100%:  "A" , 80% - 89%:  "B",  70% - 79%: "C",  60% - 69%: "D",  Below 60%: "F"

Classroom Behavior and Attendance Policy

1. Cell phone use is prohibited in the classroom except in the case of an emergency requiring a call to campus security or 911. Students are not permitted to use cell phone cameras or access the Internet during class using any type of electronic devices. Such use of cell phones (even texting) is distracting and to other students. Students who don't comply with this rule may be asked to leave the classroom. Using any electronic device during a test or quiz could result in a score of zero.

If, in an emergency, a phone call is anticipated, a phone can be set to vibrate and the call answered outside of the classroom. When making or taking a call or for any other valid reason, a student may leave the classroom without asking for permission.

2. Inappropriate talking - even whispering - or any other activity that distracts other students is counterproductive to the goals of this course and therefore, unfair to everyone. This type of behavior will not be tolerated. This or any other lack of respect for others results in a lower participation grade and possible ejection from the classroom.

3. Students are expected to follow directions and abide by safety requirements, procedures and common sense in lab activities. Safety is our most important consideration.

Attendance in this class is as important as attendance at any job and therefore must be assigned the highest priority by students.

Quizzes and labs missed due to absence from class - whether excused or unexcused - cannot be made up, due to time constraints. In such cases, the instructor has no other recourse but to record as a zero each quiz and lab missed due to an absence from class.

A student's grade will be lowered for every unexcused absence beyond three for the course, according to the following schedule:

4-5 unexcused absences Drop 1 letter grade

6-7 unexcused absences Drop 2 letter grades

8-9 unexcused absences Drop 3 letter grades

10 or more unexcused absences Automatic Failure “F” or Withdrawal “W”

Unexcused absences are also reported to the Early Alert System.

All excused absences require documentation. For college activities, a note on college letterhead stationary (or email) from the coach or activity director with the date and time of the event is required. An illness, emergency or legal problem requires a note from the doctor's office (on their letterhead), hospital emergency room report, proof of a hospital stay, or notice from a police department or court is needed. Doctor and dentist appointments should be made for times other than class time.

Students are expected to arrive at class on time. At the beginning of each class students will sign an attendance sheet. If a problem requires a student to leave early, the instructor must be notified and documentation of the emergency provided by the date of the following class.

Additional Course Information:


1. Bring handouts and a notebook to each class. Take notes on material being presented.

2. Complete all assignments in a timely manner. There is a grade penalty (to be announced) for assignments handed in after the date on which they are due, except in the case of an excused absence. Usually assignments are posted on the instructor's website.

3. Review material covered in each class before the following class.

4. Each chapter of the textbook is followed by a chapter summary, which should be reviewed, as well as a multiple choice sample test, the answers to which are provided in the back of the book. Some test questions are taken from these end-of-chapter multiple choice tests.

5. Summaries of the material presented on each topic are provided on the instructor's website, which can be accessed from the employee directory, found on CASC's home page on the Internet.

6. It is the student’s responsibility to ask for clarification of any topic or question that he/she doesn't completely understand (during class or by e-mail). Limited class time prevents all information on test or quiz questions from being “covered” during the classes.

7. To ensure success read all directions before starting a lab. When working with other students in labs or other activities, do your best to ensure the success of the activity for the benefit of your partner(s) as well as yourself. Before being submitted, lab reports should be checked for accuracy and completeness by all group members.

VII. Problems

Except for cases of accident, serious illness, or emergency requiring a student to be absent for more than one class - for which documentation is required - a student will have one week to make up a missed test. Beyond that that time the test score will be recorded as zero. Tests can be made up only at times when the instructor is on campus. Tests cannot be made up during class time. A makeup test may be different from the test as that taken by the rest of the class, although it will be based on the same topics.

Please discuss privately with the instructor any  problems or concerns you may have regarding the class as soon as they come up. It is easier to resolve a problem by working directly with the instructor than by going to an outside party, who doesn't know what is happening (and will just have to ask the instructor anyway). Most instructors will do everything they can to work with students to make their learning experience as productive as possible and to grade fairly.


Student Email:

IMPORTANT- All course information, billing, financial aid notices, housing information, scholarship awards, degree check results, and other mail will be sent to you via student email. Please remember to check your student email often for important information.

ADA Statement:

Carl Albert State College complies with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990. Students with disabilities who need special accommodations should make their request in the following way:

  • Talk with your instructor after class about your disability or special needs related to work in class.

Poteau Campus

  • Complete the Request for Special Accommodations Form with the Student Disability Services Coordinator located in the Ollie Center for Academic Excellence in either office 1308 or in the Learning Resource Center room 1318 on the third floor. The office can be contacted at or by phone at 918-647-1319.


  • LRC: The Learning Resource Center is located in the George Ollie Center for Academic Excellence on the third floor in room 1301; Crissy Keeton, the LRC Director, may be reached at 918-647-1319. The LRC offers tutoring in a variety of subjects including math and English. Specific tutoring schedules are available.  The LRC also offers notes and textbooks for many classes as well as a computer lab and study area. Hours of operation are Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

  • Health Services: CASC Student Affairs/Student Life is designated as the first stop for students/employees in assisting them with primary care health services and holistic health prevention measures through a partnership with Stigler Health & Wellness Center, Inc. Dental Mobile Unit Services will also be provided each semester on the Poteau and Sallisaw campuses. Please contact the Office of Student Affairs for a “Healthcare Eligibility Form.”

Poteau Health & Wellness Center and Sallisaw Health & Wellness Center will provide treatment of minor illness and injuries and behavioral health services. Understand that the student/employee is responsible for providing Medicaid/private insurance and/or paying the minimum office visit fees; CASC has no obligation for payment of the minimum office visit fees.

  • Student Counseling Services: Carl Albert State College is committed to assisting students in all areas of their lives. Student success and well-being are of the utmost importance, and it is our goal to improve the quality of life so that personal and academic growth can take place. CASC suggests students utilize the preventative counseling services that are provided through the Oklahoma Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.

In addition the following local agency, Cavanal Counseling, will provide free counseling services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Choctaw Nation Project SAFE has provided a grant to cover these costs for all CASC students.

  • Library: Research for your class should be conducted at the CASC Libraries. College-level research requires college-level sources. CASC Libraries offer a number of appropriate sources in both print and electronic formats. Visit the library in person for research assistance or at

Phone: 918-647-1311 (Poteau) 918-775-6977 (Sallisaw)
Facebook: Library Friends @ Carl Albert State College
Twitter: @CASCLibrary
Instagram: casclibrary

HEA-Required information:

The National Postsecondary Education Cooperative (NPEC) issued Information Required to Be Disclosed Under the Higher Education Act of 1965: Suggestions for Dissemination (NPEC 2010-831). This publication is available at

Additional Information including Student Handbook, FERPA, Financial Aid, Clery Report, and student consumer information are located at

Notification of Class Cancellation:

In the event class must be cancelled by the instructor, the student will be notified through various methods including, but not limited to the following: text message, email, or written notification. Students should check their Carl Albert email accounts regularly for such notifications. When possible, instructors will provide notification in advance.

In instances of school closure, the notification process occurs in the following ways: the alert system is used to send messages including phone calls, text messages, and emails to all names in the alert system as soon as a decision has been made regarding the status of CASC; an email is sent to all Carl Albert email addresses; closure information is posted to the CASC website as quickly as possible; the phone message for incoming calls at the CASC switchboard will indicate closed status; and local radio stations and television stations are notified. However television may or may not post our information, so please be sure to check other sources of information as listed above.

Assessment Statement:

Assessment is the process that evaluates the learning experience with the purpose of continual improvement and has the objective of assuring the accomplishment of the mission of Carl Albert State College.

Academic Integrity/ Misconduct Policy:

The following will apply in connection with academic dishonesty:

A. The instructor and his or her division chairperson have final authority over the grades given to students or the lowering of grades because of cheating or plagiarism.

B. The term “cheating” includes, but is not limited to:

  1. The use of any unauthorized assistance in taking quizzes, tests, or examinations.

  1. Dependence upon the aid of sources beyond those authorized by the instructor in writing papers, preparing reports, solving problems, or carrying out other assignments.

3. Acquisition, without permission, of tests or other academic material belonging to a member of the college faculty or staff. The term “plagiarism” includes, but is not limited to, the use, by paraphrase or direct quotation, of the published or unpublished work of another person without full and clear acknowledgment. It also includes the unacknowledged use of materials prepared by another person or agency engaged in the selling of term papers or other academic materials.

If it is established that cheating or plagiarism has more than likely occurred:

A. The instructor may take appropriate disciplinary action, which may include the awarding of an “F” on the particular assignment or in the course.

B. The instructor will make a report of the incident and of the action taken to the Vice President for Academic Affairs.

C. The student will receive a copy of the report if she or he desires and may appeal the decision of the instructor to the Academic Affairs Committee.

D. The student and instructor may meet individually with the Academic Affairs Committee to present documentation pertinent to the appeal. Once the Academic Affairs Committee renders its decision, the appeal process is concluded.

Carl Albert State College considers all forms of academic misconduct and dishonesty serious matters that warrant serious attention. Academic dishonesty includes, but is not limited to, cases of cheating and plagiarism, and is, at the very least, subject to disciplinary action by the instructor of record. More serious infractions will warrant disciplinary actions by the college.

Plagiarism is considered unacceptable and incompatible with the educational mission of Carl Albert State College. Since plagiarism always carries consequences, all students are expected to be familiar with the rules for avoiding plagiarism. 

Intentional plagiarism is a deliberate act of academic dishonesty in which an individual knowingly represents the work or knowledge of another person as one’s own, knowingly incorporates into one’s work the words or ideas of another person without clear attribution, fails to acknowledge clearly the partial or full authorship of someone else when submitting a work, and/or consistently fails to cite or quote textual resources properly.

Cheating is considered to be a serious infraction of academic integrity and as such is not tolerated at CASC. Specifically, cheating includes, but is not limited to, instances where work is turned in that is not one’s own, copying others’ answers in exams and/or papers, infiltration of grading systems, use of deception in acquisition of answers, and/or instances of forgery.

Grade Protest:

Students may challenge a final grade, provided a solution cannot be reached through proper academic channels. Students should first contact their instructor and then the division chair if resolution is not satisfactory. Appeals for the purpose of challenging a final grade must be made to the Academic Affairs Committee within 90 days after the grade in question appears on the permanent record. Information concerning procedures to be followed is available from the Office of Admissions and Records. (CASC Catalog, p. 74)

Faculty Complaints:

A student who feels he or she has serious grounds and evidence to demonstrate unfair treatment by a faculty member may file a formal written complaint with the division chair. First, however, the student is encouraged to visit with the faculty member on an informal basis to discuss the situation. If, after that visit, the student still wishes to file a formal complaint, the division chair will call a meeting between the student and the faculty member to discuss the complaint and any further action. If the issue still remains unresolved, the division chair, faculty member, and student will meet with the Vice President of Academic Affairs.

Semester Regulations Concerning the Beginning and End of the Term:

Students should keep in mind that the semester begins with the first day of class and ends with the last day of the designated final exam period.  If final exam conflicts occur, students may request changes in individual final exam times in writing to their instructors. Approval is based on the discretion of each instructor. If a change is approved, the instructor must forward a copy of the written request and approval to the office of Academic Affairs. Requests based upon personal convenience are generally not approved. Approvals are normally limited to the following reasons:

    1. Conflict with working hours on a job that has been held during the term and for which working schedules cannot be readily adjusted.

    2. Religious reasons.

    3. Four finals in one day.

    4. Military obligations verified in writing.

    5. Other exceptional hardship cases including health reasons concerning immediate members of the household, death of an immediate family member, or attendance of a funeral of an immediate family member.

When amicable agreement cannot be reached by the student and instructor, the division chair and/or Academic Affairs Office can grant accommodations.

Withdrawal Policy:

Students are responsible for withdrawing from course(s) they will not attend. Students should contact the Office of Admissions to formally withdraw, and, if receiving financial aid, the Office of Financial Aid to understand the impact to their aide. Students failing to attend initial class meeting will be dropped from the class without notification.  Beyond that, failure to attend class is not equivalent to dropping the class; students who fail to formally drop the class will receive a failing grade in the course. Students should consult the published Academic Calendar or Course Schedule to understand the last day to drop a course without charges or transcript record, drop with an automatic W grade, or drop with instructor input a W or F grade.

Online Etiquette Statement:

Carl Albert State College expects online users to follow the same basic rules that apply in face-to-face communication. The following guidelines provide direction for students using Internet-based communication. Failure to follow appropriate communication rules may result in negative consequences.

                1.Think before you write. What you say online is permanent. Review and edit before you post and take the feeling of others into                         consideration.

                2. Be friendly and positive. Even if you disagree with an idea, there are ways you can approach your criticism without being                             hurtful.

                3. Use standard English. Avoid slang and jargon with which others in the class may be unfamiliar. Communication is only effective                     if the audience can relate to it.

                4. Be professional. Avoid writing in all caps, using multiple exclamation or question marks, and emoticons.

                5. Ask for help. If you feel lost or need clarification, ask. If you don’t ask the questions, your instructor and other students won’t                         be able to respond. Besides, you’re probably not alone, but don’t wait for someone else to ask for you.

Statement of Instructor Modification Right:

This syllabus is subject to alteration at the discretion of the instructor. Notification of alteration will be provided to students via class announcement, e-mail, blackboard posting, or similar reasonable method.

Student Financial Responsibility Statement:

**********Balances are due by the first day of classes. ************

In addition to enrolling in classes, part of your enrollment responsibility is payment of your Business Office account with the Business Office (tuition, fees, etc.).

If a student account is not paid in full, we reserve the right to hold students’ grades and official transcripts. Students are also subject to be dropped from pre-enrolled classes.

To avoid holds on your student account make payment to CASC through the Business Office.

If you have already paid your balance for the semester, and any past balances, thank you.

If you are unable to pay your Carl Albert State College student account balance by the first day of class or you anticipate receiving financial aid, you must enroll in a payment plan thru Nelnet. If the financial aid pays for all costs, then the payment plan will not go into effect.

If you have questions or need assistance, please contact the Business Office at (918) 647-1325.