Geology Around The World

Christy C. Visaggi
Georgia State University
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This is a short writing assignment given in the second semester of an introductory geology course. Students are encouraged to come up with ideas for places around the world that they wish to investigate with respect to geology. The instructor cross-compares lists and assigns locations maximizing global spread of the places covered. Students must review not only the geological history of the location but how society in that place is influenced by the underlying landscape (e.g., mining for resources, natural hazards, etc). Goals include a) encouraging their curiosity about geology with respect to places that may have meaning to them, b) strengthening research and writing skills, and c) using this assignment as a way to synthesize concepts learned in class as related to a particular location around the world.

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Learning Goals

The content and concepts learned while completing this assignment should enhance learning by reinforcing basics covered as part of the introductory sequence in geology while additionally providing an opportunity to go more in depth upon reflecting and integrating their understanding of geology and how it influences society in different places around the world. With regard to African geography and culture, should students select a relevant place in that regard (whether a country in Africa, island in the Caribbean, etc), linking the geology of that location to how it influences life in that place could be particularly meaningful. Skills covered as part of this assignment include synthesizing knowledge, data analysis, and written communication.

Context for Use

The majority of students in this class are non-majors. Class size ranges from 65 students to 135 students. Three weeks at a minimum are provided to work on this written report. Because the assignment is given in the middle of the second semester of an introductory sequence, most geological concepts have been covered by this time in order for them to utilize this as a synthesis exercise to integrate their knowledge as related to a particular location. This approach could be easily adapted for different class sizes, levels, and/or have additional components for more advanced students such as completing an ArcGIS story map, using data from ArcGIS, Google Earth, or other sources to make maps or images relevant to the content at hand, etc.

Description and Teaching Materials

See the PDF "Geology Around The World - Writing Assignment" for more details.
Geology Around The World - Writing Assignment (Acrobat (PDF) 549kB May9 17)

Teaching Notes and Tips

Because writing skills and experience in report writing vary greatly, especially in being able to appropriately summarize findings using scientific language, reviewing approaches for how to synthesize their research including addressing how to avoid plagiarism is recommended.


The six areas on which students are graded are listed in the instructions for this assignment.

References and Resources

No specific resources are recommended.