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Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century
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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Evolution in Your "Pet" Group part of Activities
This writing exercise asks students to use library resources to locate a peer-reviewed journal article that describes research on the evolution of their individual "pet" taxonomic group. After reading the ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Field Lab - Ecosystem and Paleoenvironment analysis part of Activities
Students collect from two Devonian field sites. The goal is to determine the depositional environment and whether these are life or death assemblages.

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 ...

Field collection and community analysis project part of Activities
The class will take field trips to different fossil localities in Missouri, where students will collect and identify the fossils they find. They will perform a community analysis, using a statistics program. The ...

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, ...

Paper dissection part of Activities
Students breakdown an article from a popular magazine or scientific journal, separating evidence and observations from interpretations. Follow up discussion focuses on the strength of the evidence.

What Can We Learn From Fossils part of Activities
To learn how paleontologist use fossils and rocks to learn about extinct organisms and paleoenvironments. Students use photographs to infer information about a living and an extinct organism. This allows students ...

Sequential reading/writing assignment part of Activities
This reading/writing assignment based on a series of chronological readings about the iconic Bug Creek fossil vertebrate site demonstrates a reading/writing model for approaching reading and understanding primary ...

Field Lab - Stromatolites part of Activities
The lab requires students to make detailed observations on an outcrop, both about the fossils (stromatolites) and the lithology. It addresses the two 'content goals' of the course: assessing mode of life ...

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.

Oral Presentation of a Fossil Group part of Activities
Students present a 10 minute Powerpoint presentation on a fossil group of their interest. Illustrations and handouts are required.

Evolution vs. Creationism Term Paper Assignment part of Activities
A term paper assigned for a Evolution vs. Creationism freshman seminar class. The purpose of this assignment is to allow students to critically evaluate one aspect of the Evolution vs. Creationism debate.

Mass Extinctions and the Fossil Record part of Activities
This is a writing assignment for historical geology. Students submit online and peer-review their work.

The Four-Winged Dinosaur part of Cutting Edge:Early Career:Previous Workshops:Workshop 2010:Teaching Activities
This is assignment is completed in two parts: It begins in class with a showing of the Nova documentary "The Four-Winged Dinosaur." It continues as a homework assignment in which students write a short ...

My Favorite Dead Thing part of Cutting Edge:Introductory Courses:Activities
This is a short writing assignment asking the students to write about their favorite extinct organism. This gives the students a chance to explore something that they find interesting and at the same time link it ...

Calibrated Peer ReviewTM: Discovering Dinosaurs part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Peer Review:Examples
In this activity, students write an essay on the history of scientific discoveries in the field of dinosaur paleontology. -