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Modern Analogs and Reconstructions

Submitted By: Avery Cook Shinneman (University of Washington)
Age Range: 4-6, 7-8. 9-12, Undergraduate/Adult Outreach
Time Needed: 15-30 Minutes

Materials Needed: : For the modern analogs: 3 fishbowls set up to represent “modern lakes” of differing nutrient status using artificial plants and food coloring. These “lakes” were made using aquarium sand and different colored beads as their “sediment” at the bottom of each bowl.

For the sampling core: A core tube with holes drilled and fitted with test tubes that slide in and out; each tube is labeled with a year and each tube is filled with different colored sand and beads. A large scanned image of a real core can be placed inside the tube to make the mock core look more realistic.

Description of Activity:Participants “sample” different levels of the core and match the beads they find at each core level to the best analog lakes (the fishbowls). Using the analog match, they graph a history of nutrient status in the “paleo-lake”. This activity could easily be adapted to discussing changes in pH, salinity or other reconstructions. The beads could also be adapted to focus on a particular proxy such as changes or diatom assemblages.

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Modern Analog 1 Modern Analog 2