Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > In-class PowerPoint Mini-reports

In-class PowerPoint Mini-reports

H. Allen Curran
Smith College
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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 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: Jun 4, 2009


Students research and prepare short reports on paleontologic topics of interest for PowerPoint presentation in class. Develops online, brief literature research, and oral presentation skills while enriching overall content coverage of the class.

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Undergarduate required course in invertebrate paleontology and paleoecology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

- online and literature research of a specific topic at the introductory level.
- preparation of a PowerPoint presentation (students can help students with this).
- oral communication

How the activity is situated in the course

Series of weekly student report presentations; each student is required to do at least one presentation during the semester.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Course enrichment - presentations on topics of paleontologic interest that might otherwise not be included in the course. This form of planned student involvement enlivens the course and sparks greater interest in topics of the syllabus.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Critical evaluation of available resources on a given paleontologic topic; synthesis and critical evaluation of a given topic, including controversial ones.

Other skills goals for this activity

- Searching the www

- brief literature review
- PowerPoint preparation
- oral communication

Description of the activity/assignment

Oral reports on paleontologic topics

Determining whether students have met the goals

I evaluate the report on the overall merits of the presentation, including skills exhibited in assembling and using the available materials, critical analysis of the materials, and skill-level of oral presentation. I have a short evaluation sheet that I use and complete during the time of the report and immediately thereafter. Students are given their evaluation no later than the time of the next class meeting. They are invited to discuss the evaluation as needed (usually no or only brief discussion is required; commonly the student wants to investigate the topic further).

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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