Teach the Earth > Introductory Courses > Activities > Group Oral Presentation

Group Oral Presentation

Karen Bridges
Mount San Antonio Community College
Author Profile

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 activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process. This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This page first made public: May 25, 2008


Groups are assigned and each group chooses a topic on which to report. Presentations are at least 15-minutes; all group members must speak and a visual aid is required. This project allows students to teach everyone about an interesting area of the world where concepts discussed in class have been or are actively occurring.

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I use this activity in both introductory Earth Science (see course profile) and Oceanography classes.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Usually, students have just a familiarity with the geologic, atmospheric or oceanographic process at work. They gain a much better understanding through the research completed by this assignment, and then teach the concept back to the class.

How the activity is situated in the course

On-going project to varying degrees. Some presentations are scheduled earlier in the semester, some later.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Concepts varies depending on the topic.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must become very familiar with the process that pertains to their topic. By teaching their peers about the process by showing us the causes and effects, they gain a much deeper understanding of the forces at work.

Other skills goals for this activity

Description of the activity/assignment

One topic I suggest to students is under the umbrella topic of Tectonics and Igneous Activity: Mt. Vesuvius. I expect the student group to research the area, explain WHY Mt. Vesuvius is there, what's gone on in the past, and evaluate whether or not they think the threat still exists. Once the physical world is addressed, I also enjoy when students discuss cultural aspects of the area. With this particular topic, we always hear about the 79AD eruption, and this adds a richness to each presentation.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I have designed a rubric for my own evaluation of the topic (attached) and I also have each student complete a rubric for all the group members. There is a grade for the oral portion of the presentation, and a second grade based on group members' evaluations of one another's efforts, contributions and understanding.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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