Worksheet for the Museum of the Earth in Ithaca, New York

Elizabeth Balko, Cornell University,
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Initial Publication Date: March 21, 2014 | Reviewed: July 12, 2015


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.

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This activity is appropriate for introductory courses for majors or non-majors which discuss the history of life.

Skills and concepts that students must have mastered

Students must have a basic understanding of evolutionary biology and geologic time.

How the activity is situated in the course

This activity works as a stand-alone exercise; it may be used at nearly any time during the course, but works well to elaborate on specific events in life's history and to reinforce concepts related to paleontology already covered in class meetings.


Content/concepts goals for this activity

Students will apply the broad concepts included in the theory of evolutionary biology to specific events in the history of life. Content will include the Cambrian explosion, the Big Five mass extinctions, and characteristics of the periods of the Phanerozoic.

Higher order thinking skills goals for this activity

Students must infer how current theories were developed from fossil evidence based on examples at the Museum. They will also be asked to explain how different paleontological concepts are related and how certain specimens illustrate them.

Other skills goals for this activity

Students will exercise their skill in using museum exhibitions as an informational resource.

Description and Teaching Materials

Worksheet for the Museum of the Earth (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 20kB Dec10 12)

Teaching Notes and Tips


References and Resources