Teach the Earth > Paleontology > Course Descriptions > Paleontology


Max W. Reams

Olivet Nazarene University
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs


Catalog description: GEOL 300 Paleontology. 2 hours. The fossil record of life on Earth. History, taxonomy, patterns of development and ancient communities. Laboratory emphasizes fossil identification, paleoenvironmental and paleoecological interpretation, and biostratigraphic correlation. Field trip. Prerequisite: GEOL 105, 121, or 140 or BIOL 201 or 125. Block course-three lecture periods and one laboratory period per week. Offered in alternate years.

Course URL:
Subject: Geoscience:Paleontology
Resource Type: Course Information
Grade Level: College Upper (15-16)
Theme: Teach the Earth:Course Topics:Paleontology
Course Size:

less than 15

Course Context:

This is an introductory paleontology course designed to be taken shortly after Physical and Historical Geology. Most students are majors in Geology, Science Education, Geography, Biology, with a few in Elementary Education.

Course Goals:

1. To apply paleontological concepts to the interpretation of the fossil record, e.g., paleoecology, evolution.
2. To develop skills in fossil identification, classification, and recognition of morphology.
3. To apply biostratigraphic methods to correlate strata.
4. To apply paleontological and stratigraphic techniques to geologic problems.
5. To appreciate God as Creator and Sustainer of Earth and life.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Laboratory exercises, lectures, student presentations, unknown fossil project, field study, and museum tour all provide background to develop student academic maturity in the study and interpretation of the fossil record.
Assessment is accomplished through lecture exams, a lab exam, lab reports, oral presentations, and writing projects.

Skills Goals

Oral communication through a 10 minute Powerpoint presentation.
Writing is developed through the Unknown Fossil project and two field reports.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Oral communication is assessed by the quality of presentation and depth of knowledge.
Writing is assessed through the quality of written reports.

Attitudinal Goals

Students are challenged to think critically as new research is discussed. Simple concepts learned in beginning courses are evaluated in the light of current research.

How course activities and course structure help students achieve these goals:

Discussion of challenging ideas is fostered during lecture. Student responses illustrate the degree of assimilation of how to evaluate scientific data and interpretations.


Lecture exams, lab exam, written reports, and oral presentations.


Syllabus for Paleontology (Microsoft Word 162kB Jun4 09)

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