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This project is intended to replace some of the lectures that would ordinarily be necessary in a survey of Earth history over geologic time. The students will be taking the lecturer's place in front of the class, presenting some of the material to their colleagues. Students will work in groups on a single era or period. Each student role-plays an expert (such as an oceanographer) and works with teammates playing other sorts of experts (a biologist, a geologist, an atmospheric scientist). Their presentation will require them to do research. They will be constructing resource lists to keep track of how they learned what they are presenting and beginning a critical analysis of resources found on the World Wide Web. They will also write brief individual summaries of the findings within their area of expertise. While the students are researching and preparing their presentations, the instructor will start giving lectures on the earliest time units, modeling the kind of presentation that the students will be doing. Eventually, students will take the stage, presenting their time units in order. Rubrics for assessing the presentation and the resource list are included.


This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Journal of Geoscience Education in 2005, available online: