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Just-in-Time Teaching (JiTT) WarmUp Activity: The Big 5 Mass Extinctions and Then Some...

Laura Guertin, Penn State University Delaware County
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1) What are the three leading ideas for the cause of the Permian mass extinction? What is the evidence for and against each?

2) Why are tropical forest species going extinct the quickest?

3) What are the differences between deterministic and stochastic models for population growth?

Student Responses:

See the Just-in-Time Teaching page on assessment for information and ideas on how to evaluate student responses.

References and Notes:

Articles that students may be assigned to read for this set of questions include (but are not limited to):

Browne, M.W., "New Clues to Agent of Life's Worst Extinction." The New York Times Book of Fossils and Evolution, p. 73-79.

Browne, M.W., "Mass Extinction of Permian Era Link to a Gas." The New York Times Book of Fossils and Evolution, p. 80-85.

Dobson, A.P., "The Mathematics of Extinction." Conservation and Biodiversity, p. 59-85.

The use of Just-in-Time Teaching is discussed in detail on the JiTT Starting Point page.

Additional information on JiTT is available in the book:



Resource Type

Activities:Classroom Activity:Just in Time Teaching

Grade Level

College Lower (13-14):Introductory Level

Ready for Use

Ready to Use

Earth System Topics

Evolution, Biosphere


Time/Earth History, Biosphere


Teach the Earth:Teaching Environments:Intro Geoscience