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In this activity from NOAA's Okeanos Explorer Education Materials Collection, learners investigate how methane hydrates might have been involved with the Cambrian explosion.

Activity takes about three to four 45-minute class periods.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

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Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Educators may want to begin the lesson with the optional making a fossil activity to make the learning more active and to give students a context for the main Cambrian Explosion activity.
  • There are many themes intertwined in this resource. The educator will have to ensure that students make the connections while they explore their fossils.
  • Educators should stress that the evidence of these Burgess Shale fossils points to naturally-occurring climate change. It is also shows how enormous the impact on life such a change can be.

About the Content

  • The activity connects the investigation of fossils from the Burgess Shale with the possible role of methane hydrates in the Cambrian Explosion, which was the source of those fossils.
  • Connection to climate change could be strengthened by the instructor.

About the Pedagogy

  • Students explore the appearance, size, eating habits, and phyla of a number of fossils found in the Burgess Shale.
  • Students will likely find this activity intrinsically interesting.
  • As an extension, students are asked to make a model of their assigned fossil.
  • Inquiry guide is just a worksheet.
  • A good use of a field guide to inform students about different types of Cambrium fauna.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

Entered the Collection: November 2014 Last Reviewed: November 2014

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