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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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phenogram construction part of 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 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, ...

Correlation part of 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 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 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 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 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 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 ...

Using Range Through Charts: Constructing a Diversity Curve part of Activities
This is a hands-on jigsaw-style assignment for a non-majors geology class that illustrates when different groups of organisms originate, persist and go extinct in geological time. Students will be able to construct ...

Ontogeny part of 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 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 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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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 ...

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