We created a new introductory-level geology course (Earth, Climate, and Life through Time) that emphasizes the interactions among the solid earth, oceans, atmosphere, and biosphere, and conveys the dynamic nature of earth processes through time. Most topics discussed in the class (for example, earthquakes, composition of the atmosphere) are considered from historical, modern, and future perspectives (for example, paleoseismology, neotectonics, prediction of earthquakes; origin and evolution of the atmosphere and oceans, modern climate and ocean circulation, global warming). We continually stress tropics that have received recent media attention (for example, life on Mars; coastal erosion from Hurricane Fran), and we adapt the schedule as it is being taught to lecture on newsworthy events. The course was developed, and is team-taught by a micropaleontologist (TJB) and a metamorphic geologist (DLW). Each instructor makes every effort to present material relevant to his/her particular research interests (for example, activities related to a recent Ocean Drillling Program expedition by TJB, use of recently collected, deep-crustal rock samples by DLW) and to involve students in various aspects of ongoing research projects. In addition to teaching students basic information about earth systems, major goals of the class were to use activity-intensive labs designed to complement class-discussion topics and to teach non-geology-major students how to address scientific problems using a variety of materials and approaches.