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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Caminalcule Phylogenetic Exercise part of Activities
Imaginary creatures (caminalcues) are used as an introduction to the methods, assumptions, and conclusions of phylogenetic analysis.

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 ...

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.

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 ...

Sequential reading/writing assignment part of 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 ...

Dendrochronology: Linking life and climate in the past part of Activities
In this exercise students explore; 1) how climate variables influence tree growth on historical and/or geological timescales, and 2) how climatic records are generated from biogenic chronologies. The exercise ...

Capstone Research Project: Holocene History of Estuarine Environmental Change part of Activities
This is a collaborative, semester-long research project that students conduct as their capstone activity for the course. The project is designed to be comprehensive and apply numerous concepts, topical units, and ...

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.

Introduction to Skeletons part of 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 ...

Silurian Biostratigraphy and Paleoecology Lab part of Activities
Explores paleoecologic and biostratigraphic uses of graptolites and brachiopods. Exercise is based on Silurian Great Britain data/interpretations published by Ziegler et al., 1968. It illustrates litho- and ...

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 ...

Dinosaurs of Moab, UT part of Activities
This activity was delegated to an expert (Rod Scheetz, BYU) It is part of a flexible field course Student experience varies widely in this course.

Biostratigraphy of the Crystal Peak Dolomite, Ibex, UT part of Activities
Students participated in measuring a section and collecting samples for real research. It is part of a flexible field course Prior student experience varies widely in this course.

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 ...

Weigh a Dinosaur part of Activities
Lab or small classroom activity where students use scale models (read: toy dinosaurs) to arrive at estimates of dinosaur body mass. Teaches scale, unit conversions, simple calculations, and, at higher levels, ...

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 ...

Poster Presentation part of Activities
Students are required to do independent research on a topic of their choosing. They are then required to construct a poster that explains the main points of their topic using a combination of words and graphics. ...