Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Teaching Activities > Rarefaction Exercise

Rarefaction Exercise

Steven J. Hageman
Appalachian State 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 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


An a diverse assemblage of modern gastropods provides a data set for students to learn about sampling protocols, rarefaction and diversity indices.

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Part of a laboratory exercise for upper-level undergraduate course in paleontology.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

observation of morphological features
numerical data collection and manipulate
statistical methods associated with diversity and sampling.

How the activity is situated in the course

part of a sequence


Content/concepts goals for this activity

sampling, diversity, specimen-level morphological observations

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

combines morphological analysis of diverse gastropods with sampling protocols and comparison of assemblages.

Other skills goals for this activity

numerical data collection, analysis and graphing

Description of the activity/assignment

This version of this exercise is not self standing (must be supported by lecture or reading), however, the material provided outlines the steps for an integrated study of diversity and sampling.

Determining whether students have met the goals

Results of exercises are graded and the material is included on end of term exam.

More information about assessment tools and techniques.

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