Randall Richardson

This page is part of a collection of profiles of people involved in SERC-hosted projects The profiles include an automatically generated list of each individual's involvement in the projects. If you are a community member you may view your page and add a bio and photo by visiting your account page

Geosciences
The University of Arizona

Materials Contributed through SERC-hosted Projects

Activity

Roping Geologic Time part of Rates and Time:GSA Activity Posters
After having talked about the geologic time scale (Precambrian: prior to 570 Ma; Paleozoic: 570-245 Ma; Mesozoic: 245-65 Ma; Cenozoic: 65 Ma - Present), I ask for two volunteers from the class to hold a rope that is 50 feet long. I say that one end is the beginning of the Earth (4.6 billion years ago), and the other is today. I then give out 16 clothes pins and ask various students to put a cloths pin on the 'time line' at various 'geologic events'. For example, I ask them to put one where the dinosaurs died out (end of the Mesozoic). They almost invariably put it much too old (65 Ma is less than 2% of Earth history!). Then I ask them to put one on their birthday (they now laugh). Then I ask them to put one where we think hominoids (humans) evolved (~3-4 Ma), and they realize that we have not been here very long geologically. Then I ask them to put one at the end of the Precambrian, where life took off in terms of the numbers of species, etc. They are amazed that this only represents less than 15% of Earth history. Throughout the activity I have a quiz going on where the students calculate percentages of Earth History for major geologic events, and compare it to their own ages. On their time scale, the dinosaurs died only about two 'months' ago! The exercise is very effective at letting them get a sense of how long geologic time is, and how 'recently' some major geologic events happened when you consider a time scale that is the age of the earth.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
Learn more about this review process.


Events and Communities

University of Calgary Visiting Workshop: Leader

University of Puerto Rico Visiting Workshop: Leader

Early Career '04 Participants: Leader

Early Career '05 Participants: Leader

Early Career 2006 Participants: Leader

Early Career Workshop 2007 Participants: Leader

2007 AGU Heads and Chairs Workshop Participants: PI

Early Career Workshop 2008 Participants: Leader

Early Career 2009 Participants: Leader

Early Career Workshop 2010 Participants: Leader

Early Career '02 Participants: Leader

Developing Pathways to Strong Departments for the Future Participants: PI

Early Career '03 Participants: Leader

Early Career Workshop 2011 Participants: Leader

2009 AGU Heads and Chairs Workshop Participants: PI

Strategies for Successful Recruitment of Geoscience Majors Participants: PI

2006 AGU Heads and Chairs Workshop Participants: PI

Strengthening Your Geoscience Program Participants: PI

Improving the Quantitative Training of Earth Science Graduate Students Participants

Humboldt State University Visiting Workshop: Leader