Workshop Overview

Workshop Goals and Format

Stromatolites at Shark Bay, Australia
Stromatolites at Shark Bay, Australia. Photograph by Paul Harrison.

Our aim in this workshop is to develop and promote the use of teaching materials that incorporate early earth history and processes in the geoscience curriculum. By bringing together early earth researchers and undergraduate geoscience faculty with interest or expertise in early tectonics, crustal evolution, atmosphere and climate, and early life, we aim to catalyze an effort to make resources, assignments, and activities readily available on line.

The workshop format will include:

  • Catalyst presentations: Short presentations by early earth researchers to catalyze discussion on development of ideas for new assignments and activities for undergraduate courses. PowerPoint files from these presentations will become part of the on-line resource collection.
  • Discussion: Plenary and small-group discussion to relate recent research on the early earth into ideas for developing teaching materials and integrating early earth topics and examples into a variety of undergraduate courses.
  • Development, refinement and review of teaching materials: As part of the application process, applicants will be asked to submit teaching activities or ideas for developing new activities that could be used as examples in commonly taught undergraduate courses. During the workshop, small group sessions will be dedicated to creating new teaching materials based on material presented at the workshop, refining existing exercises and activities, and reviewing activities that have already been completed. Each workshop participant will complete a teaching activity and submit it to the on-line assignments and activities collection.
  • Email List: A email list for workshop participants will promote discussion before and after the workshop.


By applying to the workshop, participants agree to do the following if accepted for the workshop:

  • contribute to on-line resource collections prior to and following the workshop
  • prepare in advance for workshop discussions via readings, discussion or other activities developed by workshop leaders
  • participate fully in the entire workshop
  • use and review of at least one new teaching activity after the workshop
  • serve as leaders in follow-on activities leading to broad implementation
Contorted gneiss on the north rim of Black Canyon, CO
Contorted gneiss on the north rim of Black Canyon, CO. USGS photo.


Note that the dates have been changed from the originally published schedule. The workshop will begin on Thursday evening, April 12, 2007 at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst and will end Saturday evening April 14. Participants must attend all sessions. Participants should plan to arrive at Amherst no later than 4:00 PM on April 12th and return home on Sunday, April 15th.

Eligibility and Application

The workshop will be limited to 30 participants, and the final list of participants will be established with the goal of assembling a group that includes leaders in early earth research and leaders in undergraduate geoscience education who have demonstrated experience or interest in early earth topics. The final participant list will also reflect the full spectrum of institutional settings and teaching experiences, as well as diversity of participants. Applicants must either hold a faculty position at a college or university or a research position in the geosciences. We cannot accept applications from pre-college teachers. Preference is given to applicants from the United States. Application deadline is February 16, 2007. Applicants will be notified of selection by early March. For additional information, visit general information for workshop participants.


The workshop will be held at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Participants must make their own way to Amherst in time for the first workshop event at 6 pm on Thursday, April 12, 2007. Workshop activities extend into Saturday evening, so departures should be scheduled for Sunday, April 15, 2007.


The operational costs of the workshop as well as room, board, and workshop materials are covered by a grant from the NSF Division of Undergraduate Education (DUE-0127310). Special arrangements must be made for international participants. Participants or their home institutions must provide transportation to and from the workshop. In cases of unusual hardship, we will be able to offer a few small stipends to help defray travel costs. The application deadline for travel stipends is March 9, 2007. For more information about travel funds please visit the workshop stipends page.


Workshop sessions will take place on the campus of the University of Massachusetts in Amherst. Workshop participants will be housed in a hotel in town and will eat meals on campus and in town.

For More Information

Please contact Cathy Manduca (, 507 222-7096).