Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Lab 1: Fossilization Processes

Lab 1: Fossilization Processes

Joel Thompson
Eckerd College
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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 http://serc.carleton.edu/NAGTWorkshops/review.html.

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 page first made public: Jun 4, 2009


Working with fossils preserved by various modes of fossilization and learning about the various forms of microbialites.

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Undergraduate invertebrate paleontology class for majors it is required, but also biology elective class

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students need to have already read or been lectured to on fossilization processes and microbialites in order to complete this exercise

How the activity is situated in the course

First lab exercise in the course.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Goal of this lab exercise is to introduce the students to the various modes of fossilization and to see and have hands-on of various fossil examples. It also includes examples of stromatolites, thrombolites, oncolite as various forms of microbialites.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Synthesis of fossilization processes and microbialites

Other skills goals for this activity

Require illustration skills by sketching some of the examples

Description of the activity/assignment

outcomes are that the students learn about silicification, pyritization, carbonization, calicification, internal, external, and composite molds. They also learn the difference between stromatolites and thrombolites.

Determining whether students have met the goals

evaluate their completed lab exercises

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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