The educational benefits of replacing in-class lectures with hands-on activities are clear. Such active learning is a natural fit for paleontology, which can provide opportunities for examining fossils, analyzing data and writing. Additionally, there are a number of topics in the field that are exciting to geology majors and non-majors alike: very few can resist the lure of dinosaurs, huge meteor impacts, vicious Cretaceous sharks or a giant Pleistocene land mammal. However, it can seem difficult to introduce these techniques into a large general education class full of non-majors: paleontological specimens provide a natural starting point for hands-on classroom activities, but in a large class it is not always practical or possible to provide enough fossil material for all students. Here I will briefly introduce different types of active learning approaches, and then explain how I have applied these to a large introductory paleontology class for non-majors.
2. Types of Active Learning Activities
3. Benefits of Active Learning
4. One Model how to Integrate Active Learning into a Paleontology Class for Non-Majors