Lab Guide For USask GEOL 121 Students

Welcome University of Saskatchewan GEOL 121 Students! We are glad you are joining us to learn about geology this semester, and we hope you enjoy your experience here. Geology is a challenging and rewarding science. You will probably learn things this semester that will stay without you throughout your life and help you understand the world around you more completely.

We have a few rules to help you get the most out of your lab experience this semester and to keep things running smoothly.

Please respect and follow these guidelines:

  • attend lab in your assigned section.
  • you must complete all lab assignments and hand in all assignments that TAs mark in order to pass the course. If you do not, you will get an incomplete in the class. If you hand in assignments late without prior approval you will receive a 0 in that lab.
  • if you will be absent from lab, contact the lab coordinator (Michael Cuggy, michael.cuggy at before you are absent.
  • if you are absent due to illness contact the lab coordinator as soon as possible to arrange to attend an alternative lab. The longer you wait the harder it is to accommodate you so please contact the lab coordinator as soon as you are aware you are going to be (or have been) absent.
  • Note that each lab is only offered for one week of the semester, so if you miss a week it will be very difficult to make up.
  • Do not lick the rocks! Some of them might have a characteristic taste but remember – hundreds of students handle these samples each year, and if you lick the samples you are probably tasting their sweat, viruses, and bacteria! Your TA can tell you whether the mineral or rock sample has a distinctive taste or not.
  • Many of the rock and mineral samples contain metals that you should not ingest. Wash your hands after each lab where you handle rocks and/or mineral samples.
  • During quizes and exams, students are explicitly forbidden to talk, share materials, look at exam sheets other than their own, or in any other way participate in activities that could be perceived as cheating. Concerns with students who do any of these things will be resolved according to the student academic misconduct process flow chart. All students should read and be familiar with the Regulations on Academic Student Misconduct.

AES students:

  • contact the lab coordinator (Michael Cuggy, michael.cuggy at (not your TA!) at the start of the semester or as soon as possible to arrange to write the rock and mineral quiz at a different time.
  • arrange with AES to write the lab final exam. Their standard rules and deadlines apply for writing the lab final exam as for midterms or final exams arranged through AES. If you do not arrange in advance with them we will not be able to accommodate your request for accommodation.

Please be respectful of your TAs’ time:

  • be punctual – come to labs on time.
  • pay attention when they are presenting at the start of each lab.
  • Learn your TAs’ names.
  • read the overview section prior to attending the lab and come to labs prepared to learn.
  • if you are struggling, let your TA know as soon as possible – the sooner you let them know, the more they can help you.
  • visit your TA during their office hours or arrange for a mutually-convenient time via email in advance.
  • ask lots of questions during the labs and use the time assigned for the labs. A big part of the responsibility for getting the most out of your labs belongs to you, so use the opportunities you are given to learn.

How to succeed in GEOL 121 labs:

  • attend all the labs and complete the lab exercises.
  • review your lab exercises in preparation for the rock and mineral exam and the lab final exam.
  • If you are struggling – get help from your TA as soon as possible, and consider working with a tutor
  • geology is a collaborative discipline, so we expect students will work together to learn and complete their lab assignments. However! Be honest with yourself – if you redid the lab on your own, could you do it? If not, spend more time preparing for the quiz and exam, because you will have to work on your own during those tests. Be respectful of your lab partners – contribute equally to lab work as a team.

There are a few things you will need to bring to lab with you:

  • rock and mineral identification kit that can be purchased from the bookstore (for Rock and Mineral Labs and quiz)
  • pen, pencil, and eraser
  • pencil crayons
  • geometry set (including protractor, ruler, drafting compass, for Structure and Earthquake Labs)

Good luck with the labs and we hope you enjoy learning about geology this semester!


Icon for the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License

Introductory Physical Geology Laboratory Manual – First Canadian Edition (v.3 - Jan 2020) Copyright © 2020 by Joyce McBeth; Karla Panchuk; Tim Prokopiuk; Lyndsay Hauber; and Sean Lacey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.