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Paleontology Teaching Activities


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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.

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

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 ...

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

Character coding part of 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.

The Natural Selection Game part of Activities
This game simulates the effect of natural selection on two populations - a predator species and a prey species. The game was developed by Robert P. Gendron, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, and I have modified ...

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

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

A basic trilobite morphometric exercise part of Activities
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

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.

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 ...

Jurassic Park Debate part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Role Playing:Examples
This role-playing exercise casts students as scientific specialists, assigned to a group either supporting or opposing the cloning of dinosaurs. Each group researches and presents its argument. -

An Interactive Game Approach to Learning in Historical Geology and Paleontology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Games:Examples
The instructor uses a series of games to help students identify and answer questions about fossils. The game grows more complex over time as the instructors add rules and phyla to identify. -

Woolly Mammoth Excavation and Lab Work part of Cutting Edge:Geoscience in the Field:Field Experiences:Posters
students participate in authentic research project w/ scientists students learn scientific process through experience students participate in all aspects of the project including problem solving

Calibrated Peer ReviewTM: Discovering Dinosaurs part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Peer Review:Examples
In this activity, students write an essay on the history of scientific discoveries in the field of dinosaur paleontology. -

JiTT - Exploring Geoarchaeology part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) How is climate connected to geoarchaeology? Explain. 2) List as many "tools" you can think of that would be useful to a geoarchaeologist and describe why it would be of use. 3) Is geoarchaeological ...

JiTT - Ethics of Fossil Collecting part of Starting Point-Teaching Entry Level Geoscience:Just in Time Teaching:Examples
1) What do you think it means for a fossil resource to be "abused"? 2) What's the issue with fossil hunting on federal land (such as National Parks)? Explain what your interpretation of the conflict ...

GEOLogic: Museums and their Dinosaur Displays part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are asked to match up five top Museums with 2 fossils that they have on display based on clues presented from various points of view.

GEOLogic: Lagerstatten and Unique Fossils part of Quantitative Skills:Activity Collection
Students are asked to match up several unique fossils with the site and location where it was found and it's geologic age.