Paleoecology: An Evolutionary Arms Race
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 Exemplary Teaching Collection
Resources in this top level collection a) must have scored Exemplary or Very Good in all five review categories, and must also rate as “Exemplary” in at least three of the five categories. The five categories included in the peer review 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: Jul 22, 2009
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
- Understanding of escalation and the concept of evolutionary arms races
How the activity is situated in the course
- Activity can be expanded to include bulk sampling in the field, sorting/identification in the lab, and/or oral presentations of results.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Evolutionary arms races
- Molluscan ecology
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
- Developing approach to data collection and analyses
- Collecting data
- Analyzing data
- Interpreting results
Other skills goals for this activity
- Graphing skills
- Writing skills
Description of the activity/assignment
Students enjoy the activity because:
(1) it is essentially a mini research project-- including developing a hypothesis, collecting data, analyzing and interpreting data, and presenting it (either in writing or orally)
(2) it emphasizes the concept that paleontology can be a hypothesis-driven science,
(3) it provides students with additional experience applying a variety of basic statistical tests (e.g., t-tests, ANOVA, chi-square, regression)
and (4) it includes lots of hands-on experience with fossils.
The activity can be designed as either a lecture or lab activity, and can easily be expanded to include a field component (bulk sampling), additional lab component (sorting and identifying fossils), and/or oral presentation component.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- Activity Description/Assignment:Paleoecology: an evolutionary arms race? (Microsoft Word 44kB Jul22 09)
- Instructors Notes:
- Solution Set: