Teach the Earth > Student Learning: Observing and Assessing > Assessment Activities > Intro to Environmental Geology Writing Assignment

Introduction to Environmental Geology Writing Assignment

Mary Savina
,
Carleton College; example compiled by Suzanne Savanick, SERC
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Summary

Students in an introductory environmental geology class research the Dust Bowl, analyze information and data and develop a written argument.

Context

Audience:

Introductory Course

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered:

How the activity is situated in the course:

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity:

The goal of the assignment is to develop and support an explanation of the Dust Bowl phenomenon.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity:

Students will research and analyze 19th and 20th century climate change, accounts of the Dust Bowl from government documents, newspapers and periodicals.

Other skills goals for this activity:

Students will analyze data, analyze and integrate different sources of information, and present a well developed written argument.

Description of the activity/assignment

In this writing assingment, students research and analyze the Dust Bowl. Students analyze data, analyze and integrate different sources of information, and present a well developed written argument.

Evaluation Rubric

The evaluation rubric is included with the assignment, so that students understand the grading criteria.

Grading Rubric for Papers:

A - The paper is comprehensive and focused around a particular, clearly stated thesis (or argument). The author uses a variety of sources, including at least one contemporary periodical/newspaper article and one government document. The paper contains an original analysis and combination of information. All references are cited correctly in text and in a References Cited section. The writing is excellent.

B - The thesis or problem posed in the paper is clearly stated. There are some gaps in information and a narrow range of sources, though at least one contemporary newspaper/periodical account and one government document has been used. The paper has some original thinking but is not as well-focused as an A paper. All references are cited correctly in text and in a References Cited section. The writing is good.

C - The focus of the paper is unclear. There is an over-dependence on a single source and inadequate detail on important parts of subject. Writing and organization are mediocre.

D - The focus of the paper is unclear. There is an over-dependence on a single source and inadequate detail with no analysis. Writing is mediocre to poor.

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