Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Earth Materials

Earth Materials

Author Profile
Dawn Cardace
, or

University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


Earth Materials is here designed under a core-to-crust concept umbrella covering content spanning mineralogy/petrology/Earth processes, embracing active learning, collaborative learning, process of science/research, writing/presentation skills, and field experiences. Contextualizing geological content with case studies, local/regional/global geology, human uses of the Earth, and a sense of how Earth evolves over time is paramount.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Mineralogy, Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Petrology, Mineralogy
Course Type: Upper Level:Mineralogy
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is a core course for Geo majors, Earth Materials. It has aspects of classical mineralogy, petrology, and Earth history courses. Prerequisites are intro geology, first semester chemistry. This course has a required four-hour laboratory, a required ~6-hr Museum visit, and a two-day field trip.

Course Goals:

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Course activities and structure are designed to promote student-led inquiry through individual and group work. Research learning and consensus interpretations of field specimens build content, analytical skills, quantitative reasoning, presentation skills. Assessment of student achievements comprises formative, summative, reflective components.

Skills Goals

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Respectful peer interactions build community and stronger interpretive power. Every activity that we tackle together will take steps in this direction. I envision rubrics for all assignments to have a component related to these skills, plus self-reporting: skills/attitudinal journaling check in/check out to the class, a low key pre- and post-test (that really is no test), to get at how students think about these points.

Attitudinal Goals

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

These are concepts to be woven through the curriculum, made explicit on day one, revisited periodically and at the conclusion of the course. These may also figure in a check-in check-out activity (the pre- and post-tests that are not tests!). I like lab notebooks that really show how thought evolves over time, so may wrap these check-in check-out activities into laboratory assignments. Why not?


This is a constant work in progress.

In general, I work with a combination of conventional formative, summative assessments (quizzes), plus practical examples of achievements (lab notebooks = learning portfolios), pre- and post-tests, journaling/blogging. I intend to rely heavily on Earth Science Concept Inventory for raw material, and on rubrics demanding higher order thought. I also listen and respond to student comments on their learning progress


Syllabus (Acrobat (PDF) 92kB Jun7 10)

[file 'Other Materials']

See more Course Goals/Syllabus Database »