Cutting Edge > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Grant Proposal Project

Grant Proposal Project

Rowan Lockwood
,
The College of William and Mary
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: Jul 21, 2009

Summary

This grant proposal assignment is the final project for my paleontology course, requiring students to apply the hands-on research skills they've developed throughout the semester.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate elective upper-level course in paleontology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

- Ability to pose novel research questions or hypotheses
- Ability to track down relevant primary literature
- Ability to synthesize and evaluate the primary literature
- Ability to develop appropriate data and methods to answer the question
- Ability to justify the significance of the project
- Writing ability

How the activity is situated in the course

As a culminating project

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

- Understanding of the types of research questions that can be answered using fossil data

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

- Ability to pose novel research questions or hypotheses
- Ability to track down relevant primary literature
- Ability to synthesize and evaluate the primary literature
- Ability to develop appropriate data and methods to answer the question
- Ability to justify the significance of the project

Other skills goals for this activity

- Ability to write clearly and concisely

Description of the activity/assignment

To prepare for this project, students develop hands-on research skills throughout the course of the semester. A variety of class activities emphasize how to pose research questions, develop hypotheses, determine materials and methods, and understand how fossil data are used to answer a variety of research questions. Class discussions of primary literature emphasize how to track down, synthesize, and evaluate primary literature. Case studies presented in lecture illustrate how to tackle research questions in paleontology. For this project, students apply all of these skills to tackle a topic they find interesting in paleontology. Intermediate deadlines are established to help students develop a research question, write up a rough draft, and revise it in detail. Student progress is also tracked via updates to their peers in the classroom. The written grant proposals must range in length from between 10-12 pages (NOT including the references cited or figures and tables sections) and are double-spaced, 12 pt font, with 1" margins. The rough drafts of the proposals are worth 5% and the final versions are worth 15% of the students' total grade.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I use a 100pt rubric divided into the following sections (see attached):
Introduction
Past work
Proposed project
References cited
Figures/Tables
References cited

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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