Paleontology Teaching Activities


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Introduction to the Trilobites: Morphology, Macroevolution and More part of Activities
The learning goals for this lab are the following: 1) to familiarize students with the anatomy and terminology relating to trilobites; 2) to give students experience identifying morphologic structures on real ...

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Lab Exercise for California Academy of Sciences part of Activities
This is an exercise developed for use at the California Academy of Sciences by an undergraduate-level class which explores paleontology or the history of life. Students are asked to explore the California Academy ...

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Fossil Identification part of Activities
This activity asks students to identify examples of types of fossils amongst the exhibits at the Museum of the Earth at the Paleontological Research Institution in Ithaca, New York. Students will build on their ...

Relative Geologic Time and the Geologic Time Scale part of Activities
Group simulation of the development of the geologic time scale illustrating concepts of correlation and relative time. Extremely effective for teaching the significance of the geologic time scale.

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Evolution in Your "Pet" Group part of Activities
This writing exercise asks students to use library resources to locate a peer-reviewed journal article that describes research on the evolution of their individual "pet" taxonomic group. After reading the ...

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Caminalcule Phylogenetic Exercise part of Activities
Imaginary creatures (caminalcues) are used as an introduction to the methods, assumptions, and conclusions of phylogenetic analysis.

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Measuring Dinosaur Speed from Trackways part of Activities
This activity demonstrates how measurements taken from fossil trackways can be used to estimate the speed at which extinct animals were moving when they made the trackways, providing students the opportunity to ...

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Layer Cake Geology part of Activities
This activity visually introduces students to the idea of geologic time and the correlation between time, rock layers and fossils. It uses the familiar, relevant example of cake but teaches important concepts such ...

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The Fidelity of the Fossil Record: Using Preservational Characteristics of Fossils within an Assemblage to Interpret the Relative State of Spatial and Temporal Fidelity part of Activities
This exercise introduces students to the concept of temporal and spatial fidelity, to the different types of fossil assemblages, and how the taphonomic characteristics of an assemblage can be used to assess the ...

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Paleoecology Lab part of Activities
This activity gives students practice in identifying fossils in the context of assemblages and allows them to make paleoecological interpretations.

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The Paleobiology Database: Diversity and Extinction in the Phanerozoic (as viewed through the eyes of a bivalve) part of Activities
A key question in paleobiology is how diversity, origination, and extinction have changed over time. Given that species are missing from the fossil record this is hard to determine directly. However, we can measure ...

Macroevolution: Patterns and Processes of the Cambrian Metazoan Radiation part of Activities
Diversification patterns for clades belonging to the Cambrian Fauna (i.e., one of Sepkoski's Three Great Faunas) are generated and then used to test whether deterministic or random processes drove this ...

Worksheet for the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York part of Activities
Students will go to the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York and use the exhibits to answer questions about paleontology, paleobiology, evolution, the history of life.

Osteology of Dinosaurs at The Field Museum part of Activities
This activity explores vertebrate paleontology/paleobiology of the Mesozoic. It focuses on dinosaur osteology using skeletons and models at The Field Museum in Chicago. Students will compare the morphology of ...

Osteology of Mesozoic Life part of Activities
This activity explores vertebrate paleontology/paleobiology of the Mesozoic. It focuses on dinosaur osteology using skeletons and models at the Academy of Natural Sciences of Drexel University in Philadelphia. ...

A basic trilobite morphometric exercise part of Activities
A lab exercise and follow-up classroom activity in which students measure some trilobite specimens, evaluate the statistical significance of differences documented in data acquired for two different populations, ...

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Forensic Paleontology part of Activities
Students examine and sketch a dead animal, discovering as much as possible about it.

Deep time - what is your metaphor? part of Activities
Construct your own metaphor, appropriately scaled, for communicating deep time.

Poster Presentation part of Activities
Students are required to do independent research on a topic of their choosing. They are then required to construct a poster that explains the main points of their topic using a combination of words and graphics. ...

Taxonomy & Phylogeny: Building and Comparing a Taxonomy and Phylogeny of Bivalve Mollusks part of Activities
This is a two-part exercise that introduces the principles and methods behind taxonomy and phylogenetics. In part I, students, by describing the morphology of various species of modern and fossil bivalve mollusks, ...

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