Trilobite Ontogeny Lab
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: Jun 9, 2014
This lab explores ontogenetic differences in trilobites, requiring students to measure and describe differences in the sizes of different morphological features as trilobites age. Students will also reinforce concepts of allometry, isometry, and morphology of trilobites.
Undergraduate/graduate course in invertebrate paleontology
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
Allometry and isometry, morphological features of Trilobita, ontogeny, phylogeny, and evolution of development
How the activity is situated in the course
This lab exercise is half of a weekly lab exercise; it is combined with a lab section on the Arthropoda in which students are asked to diagram and label representative groups of fossil arthropods.
Content/concepts goals for this activity
Allometry vs. isometry, ontogeny
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Model fitting to bivariate data, formulation of hypotheses to explain ontogenetic patterns
Other skills goals for this activity
Data presentation, organization of ideas in addressing a scientific question
Description and Teaching Materials
The attached file is the students' handout, which includes some references for papers with nice figures of trilobite ontogenetic series; there exist many more such papers if these are not available at your library.
Student handout for Trilobite Ontogeny lab (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 52kB Jun9 14)
Teaching Notes and Tips
Students are assessed on the quality of their data presentation, the clarity and plausibility of their answers to the questions, and the explanation of how the data supports their answers.
References and Resources