Teach the Earth > Early Career > Previous Workshops > Workshop 2010 > Program > Teaching Activities > Illinois through time

Illinois through time

Surangi Punyasena
University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
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This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: Jun 29, 2010


This assignment serves as an introduction to geologic time, using Illinois as an example. It uses the Paleo Portal website to illustrate each geologic period.

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Introductory class - geared toward non-majors, but some biology and geology students interested in paleonotlogy

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

The assignment assumes some familiarity with modern geography. This, I discovered, can not necessarily be taken for granted.

How the activity is situated in the course

Appears in the first half of the course, around week 4 or 5.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Geologic time
Change in biological communities
Change in earth climate

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Synthesis of ideas and concepts

Other skills goals for this activity

Working in groups
searching the WWW

Description of the activity/assignment

The goal of this assignment is to introduce students to the degree to which ecosystems, climate, and geography have varied through Earth history. It requires students to work in groups (which many resist) and to research each geologic period using the Paleo Portal website and external websites.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Rubric provided in assignment.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Download teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs