Mentored Journal reading assignment – Early Earth Accretion and Differentiation

Ginny Peterson
,
Grand Valley State University
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Summary

This is a mentored journal reading assignment and the first assignment of the semester. It introduces students to early earth formation processes and helps grow confidence in journal reading.

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Context

Audience

Undergraduate required course in Igneous and Metamorphic Petrology

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

I assume basic college level reading and writing skills and basic familiarity with geologic/earth internal processes from introductory geology, familiarity with minerals from mineralogy and familiarity with chemistry and chemical principles from a first year chemistry course.

How the activity is situated in the course

This is the first assignment of the semester and is a stand-alone exercise. Students do their first reading of the article before coming to class on the first day. The assignment involves teamwork, in-class presentation and culminating written summary.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Goals of this exercise:
1. to give students the opportunity to explore the kinds of data and interpretations that contribute to our understanding of early earth processes.
2. to help students develop skills and confidence in reading scientific literature.
3. to help develop teamwork and emphasize the importance of teamwork in learning.
4. to provide a reference for later discussions of some of the types of data used in the article.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Because this exercise comes early in the semester, most students do not have the content knowledge to critically evaluate the data and interpretations in this article; however, the paper provides a nice model for students of critical evaluation of multiple hypotheses.

Other skills goals for this activity

This activity helps build student skills and confidence in reading journal articles. Students discover the strength of teamwork in problem-solving. Student make their first presentation to class in a relatively non-threatening (non-graded) setting. The assignment also forces them to summarize in writing what they learned from the activity.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a mentored journal reading assignment and the first assignment of the semester. It introduces students to early earth formation processes and helps grow confidence in journal reading.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I grade the written summary, but do not specifically grade the presentation. I grade primarily on completion of the assignment (ability to follow directions and communicate reasonably). I give students feedback on the quality of their ideas and observations and their writing. If appropriate, I also give feedback on the quality of their participation and teamwork. Because it is an early assignment, most students make an effort to do the work. This provides me with a good baseline for the students and alerts me to students with specific strengths or challenges.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

Teaching materials and tips

Other Materials

Supporting references/URLs

Wood, B.J., Walter, M.J., and Wade, J., 2006, Accretion of the Earth and segregation of its core: Nature, v. 441, p. 825-833.

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