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Teaching Paleontology in the 21st Century
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Cutting Edge > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Rickard Hill Field Project: Peering Into Deep Time

Rickard Hill Field Project: Peering Into Deep Time

James R. Ebert
,
State University of New York (SUNY) College at Oneonta
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This activity has benefited from input from faculty educators beyond the author through a review and suggestion process.

This review took place as a part of a faculty professional development workshop where groups of faculty reviewed each others' activities and offered feedback and ideas for improvements. To learn more about the process On the Cutting Edge uses for activity review, see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

This activity was selected for the On the Cutting Edge Reviewed Teaching Collection

This activity has received positive reviews in a peer review process involving five review categories. The five categories included in the process are

  • Scientific Accuracy
  • Alignment of Learning Goals, Activities, and Assessments
  • Pedagogic Effectiveness
  • Robustness (usability and dependability of all components)
  • Completeness of the ActivitySheet web page

For more information about the peer review process itself, please see http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.


This page first made public: May 28, 2009

Summary

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 and propose mechanisms that could have produced the observed changes.

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Context

Audience

This is a lower to upper level course required of majors in Geology, Water Resources, Earth Science and Adolescence Education Earth Science. It is typically the second geology course that these students take. It is also taken by majors in Elementary Education who have concentrations in Earth or General Science.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Observation
Fossil identification
Principles of paleoecology
Basic principles of sedimentology
Ability to synthesize

How the activity is situated in the course

This field project takes place in the last third to quarter of the course. It provides the students with a benchmark of their skills and abilities and sets expectations for the culminating field project which follows one to two weeks later.

Goals

Content/concepts goals for this activity

Reconstruction of paleoecology
Reconstruction of paleoenvironments

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Analysis of data that students collect themselves

Other skills goals for this activity

Observation
Description
Writing
Working in groups

Description of the activity/assignment

In this field project, students describe two lithologic units in terms of lithology, texture, sedimentary structures and faunal content. From these observations, they reconstruct paleoenvironments and determine how these environments changed through time.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Student field reports are evaluated for accuracy of descriptions, accuracy of determination of mode of preservation and their preliminary identification of common fossils, typically to phylum level.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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