Biozones, stratigraphic log correlation, and corresponding interpretation of paleoenvironments
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: Mar 15, 2012
Students work in ad-hoc groups of 3 or 4, and the instructor uses clicker questions and short mini-lectures for guidance and pacing. Paper worksheets (one per group) provide both the data students use and spaces for short answer or sketch-based work. The activity targets 3rd or 4th year science (but not necessarily geoscience) students in a large lecture theater.
Skills and concepts that students must have mastered
How the activity is situated in the course
Content/concepts goals for this activity
- Construct biozones from a given set of fossil ranges.
- Correlate given stratigraphic logs using sedimentary facies and fossils.
- Interpret, then sketch a cross section of the paleoenvironment at one geological horizon based on the set of stratigraphic logs.
- Identify criteria for choosing appropriate fossils for either (a) identifying when a particular paleoenvironment occurred at any location (from a log), or (b) identifying a specific relative time zone in logs at different locations.
Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity
Other skills goals for this activity
Description of the activity/assignment
A set of stratigraphic logs is then used to interpret changes in depositional environment across space and time. Students also decide (and justify decisions) on the optimal choice of fossils for use when interpreting variations in depositional environment. The final result is an interpreted geologic section based on stratigraphic and biostratigraphic data.
This interpretive exercise is only three weeks into a first course on Earth and life through time, so guidance is provided using carefully designed question sequences posed using "clicker" (personal response system) and/or for individual or whole class discussion.
Determining whether students have met the goals
Download teaching materials and tips
- The three page worksheet for students. (Acrobat (PDF) 496kB Mar5 12)
- Instructor's PowerPoint for running the activity (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.5MB Mar5 12)
- Solution Set (PowerPoint 2007 (.pptx) 1.2MB Mar5 12)
- Worksheet timing chart (Acrobat (PDF) 64kB Mar5 12)
- Generic guidelines for running group-based worksheet activities (Acrobat (PDF) 116kB Mar5 12)