Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Course Descriptions > Historical Geology

Historical Geology

Elizabeth Heise

University of Texas at Brownsville
Private four-year institution, primarily undergraduate


The geologic history of the Earth and its inhabitants as revealed by fossil record with emphasis on North America.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Paleontology
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Lower (13-14)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Paleontology
Course Size:


Course Context:

This is an introductory course for general education that serves both science and non-science majors.

Course Goals:

1. Explain topics used to the study of Earth history (plate tectonics, rock cycle)
2. Describe the formation, classification and interpretation of sedimentary rocks
3. Apply relative and absolute dating principles to the study of rock sequences
4. Following the Wilson Cycle model, explain how tectonic events influence the nature and timing of sedimentary rock deposition
5. Use evolutionary theory to interpret the rock and fossil record
6. Describe the changes in the fossil record over time including the dominate flora and fauna for each era of the Earth's history
7. Compare the causes and effects of the major mass extinction events in the Earth's history

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

These are assessed with quizzes, exams, and calibrated peer review assignments.

Skills Goals

student writing
critical thinking

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

We use Calibrated Peer Review to help students work on these goals.

Attitudinal Goals

improve science literacy

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

I use a lot of examples from common mis-conceptions and try to get the students engaged in discussions.


quizzes and exams


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