Dynamic Earth

Course Description

Flip through the pages of the complex and fascinating story of Earth’s history. In this course, we travel back in time 4.5 billion years to the creation of the solar system and follow the Earth’s evolution through today. You’ll learn about the geologic forces and events that shape the planet, including the ways in which Earth’s atmosphere, life, and climate interact with and influence one another throughout geologic time. This course focuses on major events in Earth’s history and formation.

In this course, we will cover the five basic principles of geology, the geologic timeline, and the methods geologists have used to interpret the geologic record. You will also learn about important events in Earth’s history, such as differentiation, the formation of Earth’s first oceans, the origin of life, and the five major mass extinctions. You will be expected to use the same logic geologists have used to identify these events in the rock record for themselves using evidence pulled from literature. We will explore local areas of geologic interest as allowed - either through virtual or in-person "field trips".

By the end of this course, you will be able to:
• use critical reasoning to interpret what we observe in the rock record and correlate it with geologic events.
• articulate why mass extinctions occur and how it affects species diversity.
• use basic principles from chemistry, physics, and biology through a geological lens to understand the evolution of Earth through time and identify major transitions.

This course will also help you develop several skills needed for college, such as 1) gaining and incorporating knowledge from interdisciplinary fields, 2) science communication, and 3) a basic understanding of the principles of geology, geologic time, and major events in Earth’s history.


This course is designed for students at a beginner level. No specific prior experience or knowledge is required, however it is recommended that students will have taken a year of high school level science (earth and space science, physics, chemistry, or biology).


One Section Available to Choose From:

Online sections of Pre-College courses are offered in one of the following modalities: Asynchronous, Mostly asynchronous, or Blended. Please review full information regarding the experience here.

Dates: June 20, 2022 - July 01, 2022
Duration: 2 Weeks
Meeting Times: M-F 12:15P-3:05P
Status: Closed
Format: On-Campus
Instructor(s): Joseph Cukjati
Course Number: 10383