Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Graphic Correlation Exercise

Graphic Correlation Exercise

Dan Stephen
Utah Valley University
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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

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

This page first made public: May 19, 2009


This is a graphic correlation lab exercise.
It builds quantitative skills.
It also gives students practice interpreting data and drawing geological and biological conclusions.

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upper-division undergraduate paleo course, required for geology BS degree

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

rudimentary understanding of stratigraphic principles

How the activity is situated in the course

stand-alone lab exercise, midway through semester


Content/concepts goals for this activity

working with numbers and graphing;
rock accumulation rates;

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

dealing with "bad" data;
formulation of hypotheses.

Other skills goals for this activity

group work;
peer teaching.

Description of the activity/assignment

This is a graphic correlation lab exercise. It uses real data from a peer-reviewed journal publication by Lucy Edwards (1989). (I have manipulated the data set a little bit.) Students can finish the activity in two hours or less.

Determining whether students have met the goals

I have small classes, so it's easy for me to closely monitor student work. If necessary, I gently steer students in the right direction; thus, everyone ends up with something that approximates the "right" answer.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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