Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean: Geologic History of A Large Igneous Provincesubmitted by
This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.
Higher Order Thinking Skills:
Role of Activity in a Course:
Data, Tools and Logistics
An ODP video was shown as part of the activity, but this is an optional enhancement.
Although some obstacles are to be expected with students encountering unfamiliar technology, the nature of the activity is to ease students past these; a greater problem is encountered where students come to class unprepared (having failed to complete take-home parts of the assignment).
The activity would probably be most successful if conducted by an instructor with ODP or other marine geological experience.
The goals specific to the activity involve learning how geologists gather data to reconstruct the geological history of a region and address fundamental geological problems.
By completing this activity, students should learn how to articulate major concepts in geology related to plate tectonics, geological time, sedimentology, and paleontology, among others.
Much of ODP's data are accessible on the ODP webpage. These include detailed descriptions of every site and every core that has been drilled since 1997. Each of these sites were designed to address specific questions in geology.
Our assignment involves reconstructing the geologic history of a Large Igneous Province, the Kerguelen Plateau, Southern Indian Ocean (Legs 120 and 183). Students are shown how to approach the data on ODP's website and then write a geologic history based on those data.
We chose to use Calibrated Peer Review (CPR)TM assignments as a way to focus introductory undergraduate student's web-based research so as to not overwhelm them with the data but at the same time utilize the valuable resource from ODP. CPR (more info) is a web-based technical writing and critical thinking instructional tool. CPR was recently developed under an NSF systemic reform initiative in Chemistry (DUE 95-55-605) at UCLA, and is maintained on their servers. It is currently supported by the University of California, and is shared at no cost to colleges and universities.
In CPR assignments, students submit short essays, then read and evaluate examples of well-, moderately and poorly written essays to calibrate their scoring. Their overall assignment grade combines the scores for the student's essay with the results of their calibrations, their assessment of peers' essays, and self-assessment. CPR thus follows the model of actual scientific writing: anonymous peer review. Furthermore, it addresses a problem facing college faculty across the nation: how to assess critical thinking and technical writing skills without requiring additional grading resources.
The high quality of student essays and the students' outstanding performance on exam questions related to the assignment indicate the the activity accomplished its learning goals. Furthermore, many students expressed interest in learning more about the Ocean Drilling Program and oceanography in general. Finally, students found the activity enjoyable and said that it helped to de-mystify science for them.