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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Measuring Dinosaur Speed from Trackways part of Activities
This activity demonstrates how measurements taken from fossil trackways can be used to estimate the speed at which extinct animals were moving when they made the trackways, providing students the opportunity to ...

Biostratigraphic and Lithostratigraphic Correlation of Sedimentary Strata in the Atlantic Coastal Plain part of 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 ...

Interpreting Fossil Assemblages part of Activities
This assignment is a synthesis of many of the skills learned throughout the course from taxonomic identification to paleoecological interpretations.

Fossil Collection and Museum Curation part of 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 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 ...

Eocene Exposure Field Trip part of Activities
This field trip visits an exposure near Aiken, South Carolina in Eocene, unconsolidated, clayey quartz sand with abundant trace fossils Ophiomorpha ichnosp. and Ophiomorpha nodosa. Early in the course, this trip ...

Fossil Identification and Classification Lab part of 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 ...

Systematics of some enigmatic "fossils" part of Activities
Students and instructor work through a guided exercise to construct a character matrix and cladograms describing relationships between different types of paper clips. Students then break into small groups to ...

Trial by fire in the vertebrate graveyard part of Activities
Students work through a series of stations displaying isolated bones, and answer short-answer questions designed to introduce them to formulating and defending hypotheses concerning anatomical and taxonomic ...

What is a paleontological species? part of Activities
In this specimen-based activity, students study ischyromyid rodent molar cusp morphology and develop their understanding of the morphological species concept as applied in paleontology.

Life Mode Characteristics part of Activities
This exercise provides a standardized format that can be used to describe the life mode and its characteristics for most any organism or group of organisms.

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

Laboratory Exercise on Bivalve Functional Morphology part of Activities
This exercise shows students how to infer modes of life of bivalve mollusks from their shell form. In the process, they will learn how to employ deductive reasoning in this sort of activity

Quaternary Paleoecology and Climate Change, Bladen County, NC part of 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 ...

Are You Smarter Than a Dinosaur? part of Activities
Students investigate the intelligence of dinosaurs by comparing the relative size of brain and body mass to living animals.

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 ...

Microfossils Lab (Labs 2 and 4) part of Activities
Lab assignment in which students examine different types of microfossils and pick condont elements and foraminifera from sediments and then photograph their specimens using the SEM

In-class PowerPoint Mini-reports part of 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 ...

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.

Could you outrun a dinosaur part of Activities
Hands-on measurements of a dinosaur trackway, calculation of dinosaur speeds, etc.