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ConcepTest: Oldest Rocks

ConcepTest questions by David McConnell, David Steer, Walter Borowski, Jeffrey Dick, Annabelle Foos, Jeffrey Knott, Alvin Konigsberg, Michelle Malone, Heidi McGrew, Kathie Owens, and Stephen Van Horn

Created with funding from NSF CCLI Award #0087894.
This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Question:

Carefully examine the relative positions of the lettered arrows on the timeline below and estimate the ages represented by each arrow. Identify which letter corresponds most closely to the age of the oldest known rock on Earth.

Timeline
a. C
b. D
c. E
d. F
e. G

Student Responses:

The correct response is C.
Percentage of students choosing this answer. (% Before Discussion/% After Discussion):

a. C(3%/0%)
b. D (13%/0%)
c. E (40%/73%)
d. F(24%/20%)
e. G (20%/7%)

in a small (< 60 students) environmental geology class

If you would like to help acquire more Before and After statistics for this example, please contact the authors (see link at top of page).

References and Notes:

The use of ConcepTests and Peer Instruction is discussed in detail on the ConcepTest page.

McConnell, D.A., Steer, D.N. and Owens, K.A., 2003, Assessment and Active Learning Strategies for Introductory Geology Courses, Journal of Geoscience Education, 51(2), 205-216.

McConnell, D.A., Steer et al., 2006, Using Conceptests to Assess and Improve Student Conceptual Understanding in Introductory Courses, Journal of Geoscience Education, (54(1), 61-68.