Petroleum Use Jigsaw Activity/Homework

Submitted by Wendy Calvin
University of Nevada - Reno
Based on an activity created by Pat Cashman, University of Nevada - Reno
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Students get one of 3 homework assignments. They then gather in groups, one that has completed each homework to answer questions as a group. The exercises estimate current oil usage, reserves, and amounts available from ANWR.

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Undergraduate, non-majors introductory geology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Simple mathematical relationships, fractions, percentages.

How the activity is situated in the course

Stand alone exercise.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Quantities of petroleum use, production and reserve. Making estimates.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Reading graphs and calculations. Synthesis of multiple data sets into derived quantities.

Other skills goals for this activity

Document and web searches, working in groups.

Description of the activity/assignment

Students receive basic instruction on oil production and use. Using online resources they estimate current consumption and production values now and in the future. The task is to estimate how long projected resources will last at current consumption rates. Students also examine the percentage of US demand that could be met by petroleum in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). Individual students get one of three problem sets to work on as a homework assignment. The page each student takes home has the questions in duplicate, and the student fills in the answers in duplicate. They hand in the top half of the page as they arrive at class; this gives them credit for doing the homework.

Class Exercise 1: Students with the same problem set get together at the beginning of the activityto compare answers and make sure they are taking the best possible information to the group activity.

Class Exercise 2: Students break into groups with at least one student having a different piece of the puzzle, and all three problem sets or "jigsaw pieces" represented in the group. They use the duplicate part of their homework sheet to answer the group questions. They turn in a collective answer sheet for the group questions at the end of the exercise.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Numerical values on homework assignment should be accurate.

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