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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Fossils in Context: creating your own fossiliferous 'limestone' part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 Lab - Ecosystem and Paleoenvironment analysis part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students collect from two Devonian field sites. The goal is to determine the depositional environment and whether these are life or death assemblages.

Devonian Transformation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

Create a Cladogram part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Create a cladogram using nails,screws, and bolts. Teaches students not familar with paleontology about cladistics using items most students have seen before.

Graphic Correlation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
The objective of this exercise is to acquaint you with a simple graphic method that can be used to: determine changes in sediment accumulation rate, evaluate the completeness of different sections and environments, ...

Bioturbation Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are given data for three unidentified hypothetical environments and asked to determine the relative effects of mixed layer thickness, sediment accumulation rate, and bioturbation rate based on a simple ...

Random Walks, Evolutionary Trends, and Branching Models of Diversification part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students are exposed to the concept of random walk and how stochastic processes can be applied to constrain interpretation of diversity trends through geologic time.

A paleobiogeography exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this exercise, students are guided through a quantitative comparison of taxonomically distinct Jurassic Ammonite faunas from five different accreted terranes in western North America, and a similar evaluation of ...

Taphonomy Experiment part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

An Exploratory Activity in Marine Diversity Analysis part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity introduces students to the Sepkoski database of fossil invertebrates through guided use of online access to the compendium. The activity calls for data analysis and display as well as student response ...

Paleobotany Exercise: 200,000 Years of Pollen and Environmental Change part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

How do we recognize and use fossils in outcrop? part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students find fossil hunting rewarding and fun. However, it is important that field trips to fossil localities go beyond mere hunting ("Is this a fossil?") and lead students to ask "What is the ...

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 ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Cladogram Construction and Vertebrate Phylogeny part of Activities
Students are given pictures of a variety of extant vertebrates. They work in groups to determine which animals are most closely related. Following a series of clicker questions and a discussion of 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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A basic trilobite morphometric exercise part of Activities
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Graphic Correlation Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a graphic correlation lab exercise. It builds quantitative skills. It also gives students practice interpreting data and drawing geological and biological conclusions.

phenogram construction part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This is a simple exercise where students construct a phenogram using a collection of different fossils or random objects.

Field Project: Fossil Collection, Identification, and Report Writing part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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, ...