Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Pikes Peak Pebble Pups

Sunday, October 3, 2010

November 2010 Merit Badge Project: Fossils

Fossils represent a merger between the sciences of geology and biology.  They are at the core of the science of paleontology, or the study of past life.  To study fossils, you need to learn about different forms of life on earth, the history of that life, and the geological processes that preserve life's records.  The following activities will assist you. Remember, you need to complete 3 of them to earn your fossil merit badge.

Activity 1. The geological time chart. Memorize the geological eras and periods and some key facts about each one. Then make a geological time line showing all the geological periods.  Illustrate it with drawings of fossils and prehistoric plants and animals characteristic of each period.

Activity 2. Types of fossilization and making a fossil. Explain the different types of fossilization (e.g., carbonization, permineralization, molds and casts, etc.).  Make a "fossil by making imprints of leaves, shells, or fossils in modeling clay.

Activity 3. Collecting fossils. Build a fossil collection of 10 to 20 specimens.  Collections come in a variety of forms.  Some collectors concentrate on a single sort of plant or animal (trilobites) and try to collect a wide range of species.  Some concentrate on a single locality or local formation and build an array of all the plans and animals that locality has to offer (such collections sometimes prove particularly useful to scientists). Still others opt for diversity, trying to collect a little bit of everything (clams, brachiopods, corals, shark teeth, trilobites). Whichever form you choose, be sure to follow the basics of good curation, labeling each specimen and keeping a log book with key information (identification of fossil, where found, time period, name of rock formation if you know it).

Activity 4 , The forms of life. Demonstrate knowledge of the major groups of invertebrates vertebrates, and plants.

Activity 5. A fossil-collecting field trip. Lean and demonstrate ethics and rules of field trips for fossils, then head out on a fossil-collecting trip.

Activity 6. Your state fossil. Many states have an officially designated state fossil.  Find out what Yuri state fossil is and write a report about it for our club newsletter OR talk about it at one of your club meetings.

Ask for supplementary materials for these activities: activity 1, activity 2, activity 4, activity 6.

The work on this merit bade is due by January 15, 2011.

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Through this blog pebble pups and junior members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society can access their lessons, work on assignments and projects, and receive details about field trips in the Pikes Peak Region. This Internet program is also suitable for young people who are interested in Earth science but do not live near a rock club or gem and mineral society or for young people anywhere who want a deeper dive into these topics. The only requirement is that all participants must be members of the Colorado Springs Mineralogical Society and must fill out the CSMS membership form (under important websites) and send their registration and membership fee in. Steven Veatch is the senior instructor and will need an email from you with your name, address, phone number, and permission from your parents to participate in this program.