Teach the Earth > Course Design > Course Goals/Syllabus Database > Historical Geology

Historical Geology

Pam Nelson

Glendale Community College
Two Year College


This course outlines the origin and history of the earth and the corresponding biologic changes through geologic time.

Subject: Geoscience:Geology:Historical Geology
Resource Type: Course Information:Goals/Syllabi, Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Course Type: Entry Level:Historical Geology
Topics: Time/Earth History
Course Size:

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites and does not serve as a prerequisite for other courses. About 80% of students take this course to satisfy a general education science requirement, 15% are taking this as a course to satisfy an honors credit, and 5% are geology majors. Lab is not required for students not seeking the gen ed credit, and lab is not required to be taken concurrently by any student, although many students choose to take the lab in the same semester.

Course Goals:

Students should be able to obtain geologic (and biologic) data, examine the data and apply it to a geologic problem and report conclusions based on their analysis, including any uncertainties this conclusion may have.

Students should be able to examine, interpret and compare/contrast geologic and biologic information (including data, charts, tables, figures, and images) and summarize discoveries into a concise explanation.

Students should be able to, upon examination of geologic and biologic theories, evaluate what data was used to support the original hypothesis and how the theory was developed.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Students will do numerous exercises in which they are required to collect data, read graphs & charts, annotate figures and stratigraphic columns, interpret visual data (slide observations), and compare/contrast hypotheses about various geologic and biologic events. Students will be required to list suporting evidence for all hypotheses throughout the course.

Skills Goals

2D/3D/4D (time) visualization and analysis
working in pairs/small groups (cooperative work)
personal responsibility (meeting deadlines and improving study skills)

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Utilization of multiple types of figures and time lines with emphasis on analysis will support the goal of improving visuallization skills.
Employing think-pair-share and small group activities (e.g., gallery walk, jigsaw) will support their development of cooperative work.
Strict enforcement of due dates and incorporation of study-skill-building assignments (e.g., timely answering of review questions before tests) will help the development of personal responsbility.

Attitudinal Goals

Increasing students awareness of the geology around them and how the earth has been shaped and changed over time.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Include local examples of geology and their formation.


Question of the Day
Requesting student questions (written and from every student) at the end of a course period to which I respond at the beginning of the next class period
Homework assignments (including exam review question answers)
Case Studies (longer homework and compare/contrast features)
Standard M/C, T/F, short answer, essay quizzes and exams

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