Erin Leckey, a paleontologist and ecologist, demonstrated how we can use rocks to tell the time period in which organisms lived. "Fossils tell us a lot about the biology and ecology of past organisms, but they are also important in determining the ages of rocks. By using differences in the types of animal and plant fossils that occur together in rocks, scientists can understand the age range of rocks and put relative ages of rocks in a sequence. In this lab, students examine fossil assemblages and use them to date rock sequences. Students learn about groups of fossils from different times in Earth's history and discover which fossil groups might have coexisted."
The following week, Katya Hafich, a hydrologist, showed how glaciers can affect the landscape. "Glaciers are the celebrities of climate change, and we have some of our very own here in Colorado! They are frozen rivers that move through time, changing the landscape as they go. Students will learn about how glaciers move and change by observing how a 'flubber' glacier slides down a tiny mountain valley. While honing their observation skills, they will learn how slope and basal conditions affect glacier movement."