DISCOVERING MICHIGAN'S GEOLOGIC PAST: A HANDS-ON ACTIVITY FOR TEACHING REGIONAL GEOLOGIC HISTORY
At Western Michigan University, pre-service elementary school teachers can enroll in a guided-inquiry, lab-based earth science course that uses hands-on activities in every class session. Here we describe a jigsaw activity that uses hand specimens of geological materials, images, and maps from around Michigan to teach the geological history of the Great Lakes region.
In this activity, students work in collaborative learning groups of four. Each student leaves their regular group to become a specialist in one of the following specialty groups: Michigan’s (1) natural resources, (2) fossils, (3) bedrock or (4) glacial features. Students use hand specimens of geological materials, images, and maps from around Michigan to learn about their specialty area. These students then return to their original collaborative learning groups to share what they have learned in their specialty groups and synthesize a geological history of the Great Lakes.
This activity can be adapted to other geographical areas by selecting the appropriate geological specimens and materials. We typically complete the activity in one to two, 2.5-hour class periods.