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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Creature Features - Showcase of Living Fossils part of Activities
This activity connects the fossil record to biodiversity in the Recent by having students present on a "living fossil" group. The exercise is useful in demonstrating evolutionary stasis, reminding ...

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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Devonian Transformation part of Activities
Students use the web to examine the biologic, geologic, atmospheric, and climatologically changes that occur with the evolution of land plants. This write up is a summary of web-based readings which the students ...

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.

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 ...

Layer Cake Geology part of Activities
This activity visually introduces students to the idea of geologic time and the correlation between time, rock layers and fossils. It uses the familiar, relevant example of cake but teaches important concepts such ...

Niche Partitioning in Silurian Tabulate Corals part of Activities
In this group lab activity, students read a journal article, and then duplicate the article's measurements on a Silurian tabulate coral head. Students must evaluate their data in light of the journal ...

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 ...

In-class Exercise: Sources of Variation in Populations part of Activities
Students identify sources of morphological variation (genetic, ontogenetic, sexual, and ecophenotypic differences) among the individuals of populations for three different species, one of which is colonial.

How do cladistics work? Generating phylogenetic trees using everyday objects. part of Activities
This lab activity is intended to introduce students to concepts of homology and evolutionary characters, and to help them understand how cladistic analyses are performed. The activity begins with generating a ...

Functional Morphology: Philosophy and Methodology part of Activities
This is short thought exercise used to introduce the subject of functional morphology. Students are asked to use their intuition to generate hypotheses of functional morphology. Through this students recognize the ...

Cladistics part of Activities
lab assignments intended to teach the basics of reading phylogenetic diagrams and parsimony optimization.

Going to the Dogs: Exploring Allometry and Heterochrony part of Activities
This activity explores the relationship between developmental biology and macroevolution by focusing on how evolutionary changes in ontogeny can produce small-scale (within species) and large-scale (between species ...

The Natural Selection Game part of Activities
This game simulates the effect of natural selection on two populations - a predator species and a prey species. The game was developed by Robert P. Gendron, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and I have modified ...

Paleobiology Database Activity for Historical Geology part of Activities
This laboratory exercise uses the Paleobiology Database to examine the relationships between continental position, sea-level and distribution of life through time.

Macroevolution: Patterns and Processes of the Cambrian Metazoan Radiation part of Activities
Diversification patterns for clades belonging to the Cambrian Fauna (i.e., one of Sepkoski's Three Great Faunas) are generated and then used to test whether deterministic or random processes drove this ...

Timeline of the Early Earth part of Cutting Edge:Online Teaching:Activities for Teaching Online
Students assemble timelines of the early evolution of Earth's atmosphere, lithosphere, biosphere, and hydrosphere by examining data from Archean rocks and minerals.

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 ...

Exploring the nature of geoscience using cartoon cards part of Integrate:Workshops:Teaching the Methods of Geoscience:Activities
In this activity, students work in groups to put a set of cartoon cards in order, much in the way that we might assemble a geologic history. The primary goal of the activity is to explore the nature of science in general and the nature of geoscience or historical science specifically, without requiring any content knowledge.