You may remember that last semester, my introductory Principles of Geology class had a short writing assignment every week about geology stories found in public media sources. I thought the assignment went very well since I could see improvement in the students’ writing skills and they also had a better idea about how geology impacted the world around them.
I did, however, notice that my upper-level students were missing the “what’s happening in the world geologically at the moment” knowledge. After a bit of thought, I decided that revising the news journal assignment by adding a “evaluate the article” section, it would be appropriate for both structure & mineralogy this semester.
So, what the students are expected to do:
- find two news articles (not blog entries, press releases, or USGS reports) about the same geological issue or event and summarize it in their own words with an emphasis on well-written, appropriately cited submissions
- for part two, they need to apply their geology knowledge (they’ve all taken at least Principles & Evolution of the Earth – Gustavus’s version of physical & historical) and evaluate the scientific statements made by the journalists; for this section, I highly recommended looking at blog entries
Between the two classes, I only have 10 students. Luckily, they have a wide diversity of interests within geology.
What they found for the 6. – 12. February:
- new 3D imaging of a Lebanese fossil may shed light on the lizard / snake connection (I looked, but paleo blogs are not in my usual reading & neither the student or I found a blog entry about this story)
- Yellowstone as the ticking time-bomb was discussed by several blogs over the past month including Erik at Eruptionstwice
- Chile’s 6.8 earthquake on Friday was also discussed in relation to the 8.8 earthquake last year by Chris of Highly Allochthonous
- exoskeletons on Paleozoic anthropods sparked the interest of both a student and the Dragon’s Tales
- a 5.2 off the coast of Oregon on 8. February followed the tradition of “all else fails, the LA Times always has an earthquake story”
- shifting sand dunes on Mars’ north pole (I didn’t see this originally come by–any blogs write about it?)
- I think this student who found the article about how magnetic shifts may cause massive global superstorms wins the sensational story of the week award–anyone want to write a blog post refuting it? Edit: Bad Astronomy laid the groundwork for reasonable arguments against this crazy idea – thanks Dana for finding the link!
You might notice that I have fewer than 10 stories — several chosen the same Chilean earthquake to write about.