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Calibrated Peer ReviewTM: Discovering Dinosaurs

This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


In this activity, students write an essay on the history of scientific discoveries in the field of dinosaur paleontology. Some links to web sources on the topic are provided. Students need to address particular questions listed on the activity page. The essays are then evaluated via Calibrated Peer Review.

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Learning Goals

  • Increase students' knowledge and understanding of the major advancements in dinosaur science from the late 19th to the early 21st centuries.
  • Write an essay summarizing the history of scientific discovery in several aspects of vertebrate paleontology.

Context for Use

This activity is appropriate for an introductory class in paleontology, earth history or other geoscience class addressing the study of dinosaurs.

Teaching Materials

Assignment Preview: A full version of the activity can be obtained by faculty after they register on the CPR site (more info) .

Teaching Notes and Tips

Information on Calibrated Peer Review and how to make use of it in your classroom can be found on this Starting Point Page: Calibrated Peer Review


The student essays are evaluated using Calibrated Peer Review. Students read and grade a few sample papers, then read and grade some of their peers' papers, and finally re-read and evaluate their own writing.

References and Resources

CPR Text Rating Guidelines ( This site may be offline. ) : A guide to scoring essays in a CPR assignment.