Geologic Time Resorts

This page authored by JoAnn Thissen, Nassau Community College, NY
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Initial Publication Date: June 21, 2010 | Reviewed: May 10, 2019


This is a capstone project in Historical Geology. Students are assigned a geologic time period, spend the term doing specific, defined research on that time period and then act as the director of media and marketing for an ecotourism company. As such they must create a brochure marketing their time period.

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Learning Goals

Students must:
  • comprehend information from the lecture section and laboratory exercises
  • synthesize information from research and lecture
  • apply that information to the creation of a brochure
  • write scientifically
  • be able to present this information clearly to their colleagues
  • perform internet research
  • evaluate what's important to create higher level multiple choice questions
  • learn to use PowerPoint to create a presentation

Context for Use

This project is used in a Historical Geology class of 24-26 students in grades 13-14. It is a multi-part term long project. It is assigned to students after completion of a laboratory exercise creating a scale model of the geologic time scale. This is an individual, term-long project.

Description and Teaching Materials

"You work at a major ecotourism company. Your job, as head of marketing, is to create a brochure of your time period from the point of view of it being the PERFECT vacation. Think "Jurassic Park" not Great Adventure. In lieu of payment you will be given points towards a grade in a 4 credit lab science course. These credits will be applied towards your next pay raise. The better your grade, the bigger your raise. "

Geologic Time Resorts Student Handout (Microsoft Word 45kB Jun20 10)

Teaching Notes and Tips

  • After completing a lab exercise on geologic time students randomly choose a folded playing card out of a "hat" -any bucket type container you have handy. Each card represents a geologic time period during the Phanerozoic Eon. They are allowed three minutes to trade with anyone. Once they have a period, they will spend the time investigating all aspects of it.
  • It is important that the instructor stick to the due dates. Students will have a short paper due at the first class of every week.
  • students need help synthesizing the information they've collected into a brief brochure
  • students need help with the computer generation of the brochure
  • I have found that students have a hard time being creative with this and thinking there's only one RIGHT way to do it.
  • some students don't understand the concept of "ecotourism"
  • I stress QUALITY and COMPLETENESS of information while keeping it brief


  1. Each completed assignment is worth up to 10 points. Therefore these assignments are worth 50 points (half) of the term project grade.
  2. The brochure is worth 25 points
  3. The PowerPoint presentation is worth 25 points
  4. Your questions will be used in the final exam.
Assignments: 10 each x 5 = 50 pts
Brochure: 35 pts
Presentation: 15 pts
Questions: 5 x 2pts each = 10 pts

References and Resources