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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Weigh a Dinosaur part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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, ...

Cladistics part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
lab assignments intended to teach the basics of reading phylogenetic diagrams and parsimony optimization.

Deep time - what is your metaphor? part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Construct your own metaphor, appropriately scaled, for communicating deep time.

Character coding part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Learning about the different ways the morphological variation can be coded into phylogenetic character data, with emphasis on the limitations and assumptions of each.

Forensic Paleontology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
Students examine and sketch a dead animal, discovering as much as possible about it.

Paleobiology Database Activity for Historical Geology part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
This laboratory exercise uses the Paleobiology Database to examine the relationships between continental position, sea-level and distribution of life through time.

Paleoecology Lab part of Activities
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Relative Geologic Time and the Geologic Time Scale part of Activities
Group simulation of the development of the geologic time scale illustrating concepts of correlation and relative time. Extremely effective for teaching the significance of the geologic time scale.

On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Collection This activity is part of the On the Cutting Edge Exemplary Teaching Activities collection.
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Theoretical Morphology – Modeling the Growth of Clonal Organisms part of Activities
Students use a Matlab/Octave program to model the growth of stromatoporoid sponges in a variety of different sedimentary conditions and exploring how assumptions about their growth affect their morphology. Main ...

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 ...

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. ...

Macroevolution: Patterns and Processes of the Cambrian Metazoan Radiation part of Activities
Diversification patterns for clades belonging to the Cambrian Fauna (i.e., one of Sepkoski's Three Great Faunas) are generated and then used to test whether deterministic or random processes drove this ...

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

Lab 9: Stalked echinoderms, graptolites, conodonts, and trace fossils part of Activities
Last lab for my invertebrate paleontology course, which covers some of the lesser known groups. Strength is that the students get to see fossil example of each of these groups to help bring them to life rather just ...

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

Mass Extinctions and the Fossil Record part of Activities
This is a writing assignment for historical geology. Students submit online and peer-review their work.

Going to the Dogs: Exploring Allometry and Heterochrony part of Activities
This activity explores the relationship between developmental biology and macroevolution by focusing on how evolutionary changes in ontogeny can produce small-scale (within species) and large-scale (between species ...

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.

Field Lab - Stromatolites part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology:Activities
The lab requires students to make detailed observations on an outcrop, both about the fossils (stromatolites) and the lithology. It addresses the two 'content goals' of the course: assessing mode of life ...

Eocene Exposure Field Trip part of Cutting Edge:Paleontology: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 ...