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Woolly Mammoth Excavation and Lab Work

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Dr. Janis D. Treworgy Principia College
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students participate in authentic research project w/ scientists
students learn scientific process through experience
students participate in all aspects of the project including problem solving

Learning Goals


Geologic Skills:

Higher Order Thinking Skills:

Other Skills:


Instructional Level:
undergraduate entry level

Skills Needed:

Role of Activity in a Course:
the field and lab experience is 80% of our contact time; 20% is for lectures, discussions, videos, tests

Data, Tools and Logistics

Required Tools:

Logistical Challenges:


Evaluation Goals:
I want them to know some basic information about mammoths and the Ice Age and specifics about our mammoth, the Ice Age in Illinois at that time, significance of our find, history of our dig

Evaluation Techniques:
I give weekly quizzes on the readings.
I hear them give the tours - two students give a tour together; this tells me the most about what they know.
The progress report tells me how well they have synthesized the geologic principles and can explain the significance of our find.


In this course students are excavating a woolly mammoth found on our campus. They also prepare (clean and consolidate) the bones in the lab. The learn about mammoths and the Pleistocene through lectures, readings, videos, visiting scientists, and a field trip. The students are excited about finding new material and cleaning bones for display. They get asked questions by their friends as well as in the tour so they work hard to learn the material so they can be an "expert." They become very protective of the site and the lab. Through this authentic research they become eager learners.


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