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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Correlation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Rocks from different regions can be correlated by fossils, by rock type, and by absolute dates. This exercise is meant to illustrate to students that many different parts of a rock record can be correlated, but do ...

Rickard Hill Field Project: Peering Into Deep Time part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

Describing Fossils part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Make a line drawing of a brachiopod from a published description. Formally describe a brachiopod specimen. Identify specimens from descriptions written by other students.

Ontogeny-Anisometric Growth part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Randomly select growth rates for different parts of a trilobite skeleton, and follow the animal through two molt stages to see how morphology can change with ontogeny.

Paper dissection part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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.

Cladistics part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

Ontogeny part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This activity allows even the youngest of learners to understand what the concept of ontogeny is, relative to humans and also applied to learning about dinosaurs.

Biostratigraphic and Lithostratigraphic Correlation of Sedimentary Strata in the Atlantic Coastal Plain part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In this laboratory exercise students work in groups to create a fence diagram cross section of the Atlantic Coastal Plain by correlating a sequence of well logs recorded along a NWSE transect through coastal ...

Fossil Collection and Museum Curation part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This assignment requires the collection of an individual fossil with appropriate supplimentary information in the field, identification of fossil, and exposes students to museum curation.

What Can We Learn From Fossils part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

Fossil Identification and Classification Lab part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
In four lab sessions, students pick fossils from Pleistocene bulk sediment, identify taxa, compile a faunal list, and interpret environments. Strength of the exercise is hands-on experience with fossils, directly ...

Rarefaction Exercise part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
An a diverse assemblage of modern gastropods provides a data set for students to learn about sampling protocols, rarefaction and diversity indices.

Quaternary Paleoecology and Climate Change, Bladen County, NC part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Interpretation of Quaternary pollen record from Carolina Bay lakes in southeastern NC. This records goes back to the last interglacial and shows how much climate has changed vegetation even in this unglaciated ...

Fossil Identification Project part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

In-class PowerPoint Mini-reports part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students research and prepare short reports on paleontologic topics of interest for PowerPoint presentation in class. Develops online, brief literature research, and oral presentation skills while enriching overall ...

Brachiopod exercise for FossilPlot part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Uses FossilPlot to graph Phanerozoic histories of Articulata, introduce concepts on diversity and mass extinctions, and basic biostratigraphy.

Niche Partitioning in Silurian Tabulate Corals part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

Sequential reading/writing assignment part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...

In-class Exercise: Sources of Variation in Populations part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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.

Introduction to Skeletons part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This lab presents a specimen-based study of the different skeletal systems of animals and plants. The emphasis is on understanding the functional roles mineralized skeletons play in the major skeletonzied phyla ...