This is a partially developed activity description. It is included in the collection because it contains ideas useful for teaching even though it is incomplete.


Authors: Emma Rainforth, Jeff Wilson, Jim Ebert, Molly Ward, Steve Stanley, and Dave

Activity Description

Based on displays at the Museum of the Earth PRI Ithaca NYIn your group examine fossils in the Devonian Life in an Ancient Sea exhibit. Use the morphology that you observe plus what you have learned in class and lab to infer the life mode of each organism. Cluster organisms by ecology and create a group concept sketch that conveys your groups observations underlined in red and interpretations of life mode for each organism. Be sure to include taxa feeding habit substrate and energy. Be sure to include evidence in your concept sketch for your overall ecosystem reconstruction.Adaptable to other museums with samples on display of different fossils from a particular time period.

Learning Goals

  • To interpret mode of life for each taxon e.g. feeding strategy and life position to cluster the taxa by modes of life and interpret fossils within an ecosystem.


Evaluation of group concept sketch using a rubric.