Fossils in Context: creating your own fossiliferous 'limestone'
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 page first made public: Jun 4, 2009
This material was originally developed as part of the Carleton College Teaching Activity Collection
through its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.
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I have done this in a few ways.
Simple way for 3D reasoning: have students make a predictive sketch of what their limestone will look like cut. Then grade the accuracy of their prediction (award a prize).
Elaborate way for 3D reasoning, taphonomy and paleoenvironmental reconstruction: I sometimes provide the class with a carbonate shelf facies model (with a slide show from my own research), and have them work in teams, select an environment (from a map provided), research what benthos might live in that environment, then order shells of the calcareous ones, break those shells if necessary, and finally build a rock from the shells + portland cement. It really teaches taphonomy (especially comparing who lives in the environment vs. who makes it into the fossil record). Often, I then have the teams swap their rocks, and cut and interpret another team's rock.
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