GEOLogic: State Fossils

Summary

GEOLogic questions are puzzles that were developed to support students understanding of geoscience concepts while challenging them to develop better logic and problem solving skills.
In this example, students are asked to identify states with their state fossil and the year in which it was declared, based on clues given from various points of view.

Learning Goals

  • To develop students' problem solving skills by requiring them to examine problems from multiple points of view
  • To expose students to real geologic data and common concepts and units (rates, distance, time, etc.)

Context for Use

This activity is appropriate for a high school science class or an introductory level undergraduate geoscience course. The activity can be given as an in class assignment or for homework.

Description and Teaching Materials

Activity Sheet (Excel 18kB May30 06)

Teaching Notes and Tips

See the author's paper under Resources.

Assessment

As long as the student makes a substantial effort towards solving the problem, they receive credit for the assignment. Alternatively, GEOLogic problems could be used as extra credit exercises which would be graded more rigorously.

References and Resources

Guertin, 2000 . Using Logic Problems in Introductory-Level Geoscience Courses to Develop Critical Reasoning and Basic Quantitative Skills, Journal of Geoscience Education, 48(4), 423.
- In this paper, the author describes the development and implementation of GEOLogic problems as well as her reasoning for the focus on logic problems and problem solving.