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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Fossil/modern mole phylogeny part of Activities
Students code characters from fossil taxa to add to an existing morphological phylogenetic analysis of moles. This activity is original research; the fossil taxa have never before been included in a phylogenetic ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Paleoecology: An Evolutionary Arms Race part of Activities
In this activity, students divide into groups of 4-5, fine-tune a hypothesis relating to escalation, collect data to test this hypothesis using mollusks from local Yorktown deposits (Pliocene), analyze these data, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Taphonomy Experiment part of Activities
This is a semester-long project the students design and run themselves. They come up with an original question relating to taphonomic processes and design an experiment to test their hypotheses. At the end of the ...

Paleobotany Exercise: 200,000 Years of Pollen and Environmental Change part of Activities
Students interpret a pollen data set that extends back to 220,000 years ago. They gain experience in observing morphological differences in pollen taxa, collection and orginization of data, data analysis, and ...

Reconstructing the depositional environment of a local rock formation part of Activities
Each group of students works on a well defined local outcrop and decribes sedimentary units and fossil content. Based on this data they reconstruct the depositional environment, put it into a broader ...

Fossils in Context: creating your own fossiliferous 'limestone' part of Activities
Our museum collection is full of loose, individual, beautiful fossils of marine invertebrates. I try to get students to understand that most fossils they might actually find in the field are locked in rock, and ...

Field Project: Fossil Collection, Identification, and Report Writing part of Activities
The primary purposes of this exercise are to assemble a collection of fossils in the field, to gain experience in fossil identification, to interpret the mode of life and environment in which the organisms lived, ...

Quaternary Faunal Environments part of Activities
This project uses the online database FAUNMAP to compare the spatial distribution of mammals during the late Quaternary. Comparisons are made with the spatial distribution of a variety of extinct and extant taxa. ...

Rickard Hill Field Project: Peering Into Deep Time part of Activities
In this field activity, students make observations of the texture, lithology and fauna of two limestone units and use this information to reconstuct paleoenvironments, how these environments changed through time ...

Hands-on Activities for understanding Ammonite Sutures part of Activities
This lab/project/topic starts with a hands-on activity that can be accomplished in one to two hours, depending on how you do it. It is designed to make students demonstrate they know (really) what sutures are in ...

The Unknown Fossil Report part of Activities
Students each receive a fossil of unknown identity. They describe the specimen in as much detail as possible. They interpret as much information as they can from the specimen.

Fossil Identification Project part of Activities
The students collected 20 fossil taxa from 5 different locations and 3 different geological periods. They identified the taxa and summarize the paleoenvironmental information about their localities in a powerpoint ...

Predator-Prey Interactions in Modern Settings part of Activities
A project on predator-prey interactions in modern marine settings, with emphasis on developing student skills in producing and analyzing paleontologic data. Project designed by Prof. Sara Pruss at Smith College.

Cladistics part of Activities
This is the third in a series of exercises in Cladistics for students. The first two are simpler, because they are planned to "work out." This one requires students to grapple with choosing characters ...

Capstone Research Project: Holocene History of Estuarine Environmental Change part of Activities
This is a collaborative, semester-long research project that students conduct as their capstone activity for the course. The project is designed to be comprehensive and apply numerous concepts, topical units, and ...

Biostratigraphy of the Crystal Peak Dolomite, Ibex, UT part of Activities
Students participated in measuring a section and collecting samples for real research. It is part of a flexible field course Prior student experience varies widely in this course.

Investigation of micropaleontological and paleomagnetic data part of Activities
Micropaleontological and paleomagnetic data are investigated to construct an integrated biomagnetostratigrahic age model for an Ocean Drilling Program site. Investigation emphasizes the complementary nature of ...

Poster Presentation part of Activities
Students are required to do independent research on a topic of their choosing. They are then required to construct a poster that explains the main points of their topic using a combination of words and graphics. ...

Deep time - what is your metaphor? part of Activities
Construct your own metaphor, appropriately scaled, for communicating deep time.

Jurassic Park Debate part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This role-playing exercise casts students as scientific specialists, assigned to a group either supporting or opposing the cloning of dinosaurs. Each group researches and presents its argument. -

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