Pedagogy in Action > Library > Role Playing > Role-Playing Scenarios > An Activity to Introduce the Geoscience Perspective

An Activity to Introduce the Geoscience Perspective

Karen Havholm (University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire)
This material was originally created for Starting Point:Introductory Geology
and is replicated here as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Summary

This exercise is intended to connect students to geology and to remind them of the diverse ways in which people, including geoscientists, relate to rocks. On the first day of class, sort the students into groups and give each one a different rock specimen and a different role to examine it from. Possible roles include a sculptor considering the rock as material to work with, a landowner wanting to put in a well on an estate underlain by that rock type, and a preacher who will use the rock as part of a sermon. The groups study the rock, and then prepare a relevant list of observations and questions. Finally, the students need to summarize the perspectives presented and each writes a one-minute paper saying what they have learned and to evaluate the activity.

Learning Goals

This exercise enables students to:

Context for Use

This activity is for the first day of an introductory geoscience class and will take most of that class period. It can be used in a large class; the instructor has used it in a class of 75 students. Multiple groups can be given the same role.

Description and Teaching Materials

For each group, the instructor will need:

Teaching Notes and Tips

Unlike most role-playing exercises, this one requires no prior preparation by the students.

Assessment

Both the presentation and the one-minute papers will allow an informal assessment of how the students are settling in to the class.

References and Resources

This exercise is described in Havholm, 1998 .

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