IS1001 – First-Year Seminar – Fall 2006

Bottom dwellers in an ocean of air



Homework assignments will be posted and described here. Possible solutions (if applicable), and samples of your work will appear in this space.


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Due Thursday, November 9:

read “The climate of Man-I” by Elizabeth Kolbert. It is on electronic reserve in the library. Answer the questions on handout.


Due Tuesday, October 31:

Essay number 3.


Due Tuesday, October 24:

  1. Read “Climate and the Collapse of the Maya Civilization” by Larry C Peterson and Gerald H. Haug, American Scientist, Volume 93, Issue 4, 2005   - the article has been put on electronic reserve by the library. You also can access the article under;jsessionid=aaah7-J6wG0c7p (thanks to AC).
  2. Answer the questions on the handout.


Due Thursday, October 19:

    1. Read 6.4.1 Ocean and ice cores and the Pleistocene record
    2. Read 6.4.2 Post-glacial climates


Due Thursday, October 12:

Read: 6.3: Techniques for reconstructing past climates as a preparation for Dr. Brugger’s guest talk.


Due Tuesday October 10:

  1. Read textbook box 6.1 pages 157/158
  2. Answer the questions on the handout.
  3. Essay number 2 is due.


Due Thursday October 5:

  1. Have a partner and a tentative plan for your project. There will be a sign-up sheet asking for this info. You also will sign up for your sharing date with the class.



Due Tuesday, October 3:

  1. Read “The Threshold of Vulnerability” from “The long Summer” by Brian Fagan, Basic Books, 2004. Copies will be handed out in class. Book is also on Reserve in the Library.
  2. Answer the questions attached to the reading handout.
  3. Extra-Credit: half-to one-page reflection on the Al-Gore movie “An inconvenient truth”. We have tickets for Thursday, September 28. Please join us.


Due Thursday, September 28:

  1. Read “The case of the missing farmers” from “Climates of Hunger” by Reid A. Bryson and Thomas J Murray, University of Wisconsin Press, 1977. The book is on print reserve for our course. You can borrow it for two hours from the library – an excellent resource for essay number 2.
  2. Answer the questions attached to the reading handout.


Due Thursday, September 21:

  1. Essay Number 1
  2. Read 2.2 in text book
  3. Interpret Figure 2.7 in text book (be prepared to write or speak about it)


Due Tuesday, September 19:

  1. Read 2.2 in text book: air pressure and wind
  2. Read Tim Flannery, ”The Weathermakers” (handout)


Due Thursday, September 14:

Read 2.1 in the text book: the vertical structure of the atmosphere.


Due Thursday, September 7, 2006:

  1. Read National Geographic Article on hurricanes:

      Super Storms – No End In Sight, by Thomas Hayden, National Geographic August 2006

  1. Write a one-page summary on what you learned from the discussion with Governor Blanco regarding questions that have been phrased during our last class meeting




Due Thursday, August 31:

  1. Read National Geographic Article on New Orleans, Louisiana:

      Gone with the water by Joel K. Bourne Jr, National Geographic Oct2004

      Copies will be handed out on first day of class.

  1. Suggest two good questions to ask Louisiana Governor Kathleen Blanco. We will pool these questions and discuss which one’s to ask as a group at the governor’s presentation.


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Two-page Essays:

Throughout the semester, five two-page essays will be required from you. The format is fairly open to you, however, try to fit the length into two letter size 12pt typed pages with 1.5 line spacing. This description is mostly a guideline to avoid 20-page small-print articles versus 1-page 16pt paragraphs in double-spacing.

More details on the five essays:


Essay 1:

due on September 19

Weather and You: give a personal perspective on the role of weather and climate in your personal life


Essay 2



Due October 10

Human Adaptation: Find an example of any contemporary culture different from yours, and discuss its adaptation to its climate situation.

Essay 3



Due October 31

Human History: Write an article on climate- or weather-related development in human history. Lots of material can be found in the books on reserve in the library.

Essay 4



Due November 21

Current World: Pick any weather event in the world of the past three months, and write an article, giving perspective on natural background, human effects, human responses, long-term effects, and embed the event into your picture of global climate

Essay 5

Due December 12

Not necessary


Evaluation criteria:

  • Originality (30)
  • Structure of your essay (20): this includes such things as flow; are you making your point; is there some thought-sequence to follow; do you have a structure following for example introduction-background-description-effects-conclusion ..
  • Use of references and information sources (20)
  • timeliness
  • orthography and grammar


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Last modified 11/30/2006 1:58 PM

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