Using Student-Created Metaphors to Assess Comprehension of Geologic Time
To demonstrate their comprehension of the immensity of geologic time, students create and discuss, in a written report, their own metaphor for geologic time. The objectives of this student learning outcome are the following:
- Students will develop a metaphor for geologic time.
- Students will calculate the ratio or percentage, relative to the age of the Earth, of the age of 17 important events in geologic history that are given with the instructions for the project.
- Students will compose a written description or narrative of their metaphor, explaining why they chose it, and quantitatively compare the list of important events in geologic history to their metaphor.
- Finally, students will evaluate the effectiveness of their metaphor in comprehending geologic time.
(The idea of using student created metaphors to assist in comprehension of geologic time is borrowed from a paper by Scott David Ritger and Robert Hays Cummins that appeared in the Journal of Geological Education, v.39, p.9-11, 1991.)
What learning is this evaluation activity designed to assess?
- Creativity – 20%
- Narrative – 50%
- Mathematical calculations – 20%
- Evaluation of metaphor – 10%
- Extra credit for visual aid –10%
What is the nature of the teaching/learning situation for which your evaluation has been designed?
This is a stand-alone project used in course and student-learning assessment. We will not evaluate every student, but will select one or more classes for evaluation each semester or academic year.
What advice would you give others using this evaluation?
- Should be mandatory, not optional
- Assign early in the semester
- Supply students with a detailed example, including one possible way of doing the calculations
- If desired, an oral presentation component could be added