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 Post subject: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:17 pm 
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I found a bunch of fake plastic fossils in our prep room, so. I'm trying to come up with some sort of activity. Problem is, my knowledge of fossils is hazy. I had one paleo class in college, but can't remember how to tell a Brachiopod from a, uh, I can't even think of other fossils names right now. Well, the trilobite.

Anyway, I'm sorting through and looking through websites and my books to identify them. If anybody else wants to play, here are the photos. Based on the trilobite, I'm guessing some of these samples suck.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:20 pm 
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Photos:

Image

Image

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 12:39 pm 
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This is genius: http://makezine.com/craft/fossil-cookie ... -bug-toys/

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:00 pm 
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Number 20 and maybe 16 might be parts of belemnites. They don't match exactly the ones I've seen in real life, but that's what I think of when I see longish cylindrical/conic fossils.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:14 pm 
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I think 16 is a horse tooth. I'll post a better photo.

Good suggestion for 20. I am thoroughly stumped on that one. It has tiny little dots/bump.

Image
Image
Image

Hah. Molly photo bombed me with a toy.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:27 pm 
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They all just look like poop to me? I like your nails, though.

(I'm not trying to poop on your party or anything. Have fun.)


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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 4:29 pm 
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Wait, is 16 the one above the number 16 or below it? I meant the one above it, which doesn't look like a horse tooth. The one below it does indeed look like a horse molar (especially if that's the one you're holding in the middle picture).

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:21 pm 
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BTW, I have both a horse molar (not fossilized, probably medieval) and a belemnite somewhere. I can look for them tomorrow and post pictures for comparison if that will help!

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 5:33 pm 
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Sure! You are right though. I screwed up my numbering. I'll blame it on Molly; she was playing in the box for a while.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 6:33 pm 
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1 - coiled ammonoid (relative of modern chambered nautilus)
2 - another coiled ammonoid
*Note - depending on the suture lines on the shell, these could be ammonites, goniatites or ceratites. They all have different patterns on the outside.
3 - brachiopod
4 - 6 (not sure)
7 - shark tooth
8 - brachiopod
9 - brachiopod
10 - brachiopod
* Note - these are different species, but I don't know their specific names
11 - 13 (not sure)
14 - gastropod
15 - pelecypod, specifically a scallop (pecten)
16 - crinoid stem
17 - (not sure)
18 - another brachiopod
19 - another coiled ammonoid
20 - a straight ammonoid

I'm just a regular geologist, not a paleontologist, but those all look like Paleozoic specimens to me. Could it be specifically examples of fossils from Virginia?


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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:01 pm 
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lavawitch wrote:
I found a bunch of fake plastic fossils in our prep room, so. I'm trying to come up with some sort of activity.


Get some plaster of paris. Mix it up and pour some bowls or tupperware or something about halfway full. Let that set, put a fossil on top of it, then fill the bowl or whatever the rest of the way. Let it set.

Get some little picks (rock hammers? forks?) and brushes. Let students chip away the plaster and expose the fossils. Whee!

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:05 pm 
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Thanks. That mostly matches what I've come up with. I don't think they are specific to Virginia, but that's a great idea for my lab. I think what i'm going to do is give each group 2-3 fossils from a similar time period and have them create a poster illustrating a probably habitat. I'll provide a master list and some photos that they can use for identification.

They aren't all Paleozoic. The equus tooth is probably Holocene? And some of the Cephalopoda are at least Triassic.

I wish it were a more exciting assemblage, and that both trilobites weren't sad, tiny rolled specimens.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:07 pm 
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solipsistnation wrote:
lavawitch wrote:
I found a bunch of fake plastic fossils in our prep room, so. I'm trying to come up with some sort of activity.


Get some plaster of paris. Mix it up and pour some bowls or tupperware or something about halfway full. Let that set, put a fossil on top of it, then fill the bowl or whatever the rest of the way. Let it set.

Get some little picks (rock hammers? forks?) and brushes. Let students chip away the plaster and expose the fossils. Whee!


This sounds like fun. Too much work for me though!

Eta: I gave up trying to tell the ammonites or spinifers apart. The textures are so faint and badly done as to be useless.

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sat Nov 16, 2013 7:12 pm 
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I think 4 is some sort of Branchiopod. 5 is a rolled trilobite. 6 is an echinoderm. I finally looked at it under the lamp, with a magnifier and you can see the texturing.

Would it have killed them to include a fun, decent trilobite in this kit? This irks me. The kids won't remember anything other than the magalodon and trilobite--may as well make them good!

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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 4:49 pm 
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Maybe there was a good trilobite and someone 'borrowed' it. It would be odd not to have a good one.

I think the poster idea is great. The brachs and ammonoids could cover several different periods of the Paleozoic or Mesozoic, if you wanted to get to that level of detail.

And by the way - thanks for doing cool earth science activities with your kids. We need more future geologists coming to college. :)


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 Post subject: Re: Anybody want to play? Fun with (fake) fossils!
PostPosted: Sun Nov 17, 2013 5:36 pm 
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Hah. Won't be from any of this lot, they all hate every minute of it. In my years of teaching, I've met one student who was really interested, several students with geology related parents who hoped their kids would like it (they didn't), and maybe 5 more who thought parts were not "awful." Even the kids who like the class (most like the class well enough, but not enough to study or want to learn anything) don't like anything we study. Rocks, minerals, and fossils? The most hated unit of them all since everybody hates it instead of being half and half like astronomy and meteorology. This is universal amongst all earth science teachers that I know. I'm not sure most high schools students are interested in much of anything. They tend to claim no real interests outside of video games, sports, hanging out with friends. Most of my top students actually ask me what is the least they can do to get an A. (Scratch that--they were interested in dead bodies on Mt Everest and are still asking me questions about that. I'll be sure to mention that again (the impossibility of helicopter rescues at that altitude) when we get to the atmosphere.)

No borrowed trilobite though. These are from individual bags of lab kits. I've got about 15 lab kits and they are all the same, just some are white instead of grey.

Whoops. Didn't mean to sound so cynical. I just get depressed when grading tests and everybody fails. It's not that they miss hard questions or don't understand some concepts. They miss the basic "remember what felsic means" stuff because they don't study.

I miss doing actual geology and lab related stuff. I am so jealous of my college classmates who all went to grad school and are working or finishing their PhDs and doing cool stuff. I like/enjoy working with the kids, but it's doesn't really feed my brain and having to always lower the bar saddens me. I'm helping the kids get out the door with their diplomas, but not so sure I accomplish anything else.

I did have a kid come for help after he realized he bombed the test. He told he wants to do HVAC, so I showed him a bunch of the ore minerals and some copper. He thought that was pretty neat.

I've been thinking about this a lot: when do kids stop thinking dinosaurs and the planets are cool? Little kiddos are so into everything. But how does T-Rex stop being awesome?

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"a vegan death match sounds like something where we all end up hugging." -LisaPunk


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