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Calibrated Peer ReviewTM: Introduction - Why Study Geology?

Amanda Palmer-Julson and Elizabeth Heise, Blinn College
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This material is replicated on a number of sites as part of the SERC Pedagogic Service Project


Sarah Andrews is a geologist who has also written a series of successful mystery novels featuring (naturally) a geologist who solves crimes in her spare time. Students read her article, "Why Study Geology?", then write and essay addressing points listed in the Writing Prompt. After this, students are introduced to the process of Calibrated Peer Review and evaluate their papers.

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Learning Goals

  • Introduce students to the science of geology AND to the process of Calibrated Peer Review

Context for Use

As this activity is an introduction to both the study of geology and the use of Calibrated Peer Review, it would fit very well as the first activity in an introductory undergraduate or high school geology class.

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

Sarah Andrew's thoughts on "Why Study Geology?": This page contains a discussion of the uniqueness of geology among the sciences.

CPR Text Rating Guidelines: This file contains guidelines to help you students CPR essays.