Paleontologist

Paleontologist

Directions:

  • Individually: Read the Interview with a Paleontologist and jot notes in notebook (what does a paleontologist do?).
  • Team: Geologist use an indirect method of dating rocks and fossils called stratigraphy. Stratigraphy is the study of strata on earth. Strata are layers. For this task, you will study a model of earth’s strata.
    • Observe the beaker of strata provided by Mr. Swart. Which layers are the oldest (has been in the beaker the longest)? If these strata were layers in the earth’s surface, what inferences might you make about the relationship between the depth of the layer and the amount of time that has passed? Answer in notebook.
    • Consider the three colored markers in the strata. If you found these colored markers in earth’s strata, which would you infer to be oldest? Answer in notebook.
    • Get the 3 colored envelopes from Mr. Swart. Each envelope matches to 1 of the colored markers in your strata.
    • Imagine that each envelope represents a fossil discovery. Which “fossil” would be the oldest? Which would have formed most recently? Answer in notebook.
    • Open the envelopes and observe the fossil pictures in each. In your journal, compare each fossil with each of the others and with modern-day organisms. What similarities and differences do you observe? Answer in notebook.
  • Individually: Complete the Pangea Gizmo (every student individually) to see how the tectonic plates affect fossils.
  • Individually: Read and take notes on the article in the packet “Explainer: How a fossil forms” and the Carbon dating activity. Answer in notebook.
  • Team: Create a poster that you can use to explain to your classmates of how fossils form and how they can be dated. Poster presentation must include the following:
    1. Description of their career
    2. Fossils
      • How fossils form
      • How fossils are dated
      • How fossils are important evidence for change
    3. Plate Tectonics
      • What it is
      • How does it contribute to theory of evolution
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