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Abrupt Events of the Past 70 Million Years – Evidence from Scientific Ocean Drilling
http://joidesresolution.org/activities/3357

Mark Leckie, Debbie Thomas, Consortium for Ocean Leadership

In this 6-part activity, students learn about climate change during the Cenozoic and the abrupt changes at the Cretaceous/Paleogene boundary (65.5 million years ago), the Eocene/Oligocene boundary (33.9 million years ago), and the Paleocene/Eocene boundary (55.8 million years ago).

Activity with all parts takes about 3 to 4 hours to complete.

Learn more about Teaching Climate Literacy and Energy Awareness»

ngssSee how this Activity supports the Next Generation Science Standards»
High School: 2 Performance Expectations, 5 Disciplinary Core Ideas, 2 Cross Cutting Concepts, 9 Science and Engineering Practices

Notes From Our Reviewers The CLEAN collection is hand-picked and rigorously reviewed for scientific accuracy and classroom effectiveness. Read what our review team had to say about this resource below or learn more about how CLEAN reviews teaching materials
Teaching Tips | Science | Pedagogy | Technical Details

Teaching Tips

  • Can be done in a homework or lab environment.
  • This is a challenging activity with solid science and practical advice on how to use the sediment cores. To do well, it will take 3 to 4 class periods with some homework assignments and require the educator to take time to familiarize her/himself thoroughly with the background material.

About the Science

  • Resource provides a set of activities using detailed data and extensive background material, from high-quality scientific papers, on how to collect and analyze scientific data and samples from deep-sea cores.
  • Part 1 activity data on the composite stable isotope records of oxygen and carbon in deep-sea benthic foraminifers (from the Cenozoic Era - 65 million years ago to present - and the last 5 million years) and on the physical properties of sediment cores are taken from recent research papers and reports. Part 2 focuses on shore-based data and analysis of fossil samples collected from around the time of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 55 million years ago.
  • Several diagrams in the section on the Milankovitch cycles are taken from WikiPedia without clear attribution or explanation. More information is available at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Milankovitch_Variations.png.

About the Pedagogy

  • Resource is suited to a college-level audience; likely difficult to use in a high school context.
  • Students examine real data from sea floor cores to find physical evidence for the Paleocene/Eocene Thermal Maximum (PETM), 55.8 million years ago. Students then use shore-based data, including carbonate content and carbon isotope ratios and benthic oxygen isotope ratios, from 9 different sites around the world to examine the differences between planktic foraminifera and benthic foraminifera around the PETM.
  • Only one of the six parts of the activity involves active learning and observation; the other parts give challenging worksheet-style questions covering important topics.
  • Scaffolding is minimal but suitable for college level.

Technical Details/Ease of Use

  • Outline of activity might be a little confusing with each of the six lessons in a separate PDF document and no clear connections between the individual activities.
  • Articles in this resource are highly technical with a lot of specialized language. Only educators with background in this material will be able to present it effectively.
  • There is no instructor's guide.

Next Generation Science Standards See how this Activity supports:


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