2nd and 3dr grade
What are fossils and why are they important?
10 different numbered fossils for every group of 4 students
- Megalodon shark tooth
- Sea biscuit
- Sequoia branch and needles
- Turtle shell
- Horse astragalus (ankle bone)
- Shark vertebra
- Brachiopod (lamp shell)
- Lemon shark tooth
- Cowry shell
- Horse tooth
- Magnifying glasses (1/student)
- Learned and Wonder Chart About Fossils
- Student data sheets (1/group)
- Evaluation (1/student)
- PowerPoint Presentation
- Computer and projector for PowerPoint presentation
Students will learn what fossils are and why they are important. They will learn the differences between fossils and other natural objects, and that not all plants and animals become fossilized. They will learn the difference between a paleontologist and an archaeologist. Next students will learn about the various types of fossils by examining and exploring 10 different ones to determine what they are. Lastly, they can make inferences about past environments examining fossils.
5E Instructional Model
The teacher will engage the students by showing them a powerpoint presentation about what fossils are, how they form, how we find them, why they are important, and the difference between a paleontologist and an archaeologist. Following the presentation, the students will write what they learned and wonder about fossils and paleontologists. Then they will write down what their favorite fossil is.
Students will be broken up into groups of 4. Each group will receive a bag of 10 different fossils that are pre-numbered 1-10. The students will work together and talk through their ideas about what type they think each fossil is. Finally they will choose one answer and record it on their data sheets.
After 20-30 minutes of exploration, students will be asked to turn in their data sheets. The teacher will lead a group discussion about what each fossil is using appropriate vocabulary words. He will further clarify concepts by explaining what specific traits the fossil had in determining what it is.
Students will be broken into two groups:
Students who are ready to move on will develop a new set of fossils and investigate specific characteristics for the new ones.
Students who need extra support will get a bag of 5 fossils from the above experiment in which they need to identify. With teacher guidance the students will be led through a set of open questions for students to think about before they decide what the fossil is.
Students will answer the following questions:
- Using my own words, a fossil is…
- An example of a fossil is…
Type: Draw it:
- The characteristics I saw when I observed the fossil…
- This tells me that the environment was…
- This is what a paleontologist looks like including the tools used.
- I learned…
- I wonder…
- On a scale of 1-4 (I rate myself a __________) because…
1= I do not understand what fossils are or what paleontologists do.
2= I somewhat understand what fossils are and what paleontologists do.
3= I understand what fossils are and what paleontologists do.
4= I understand and can teach others what fossils are and what paleontologists do.
Florida State Standards
SC.3.N.1.1. Raise questions about the natural world, investigate them individually and in teams through free exploration and systematic investigations, and generate appropriate explanations based on those explorations.
SC.3.N.1.4. Recognize the importance of communication among scientists.
SC.3.N.1.6. Infer based on observation.
Science and Engineering Practices
Analyzing and Interpreting Data
Analyzing data in 3–5 builds on K–2 experiences and progresses to introducing quantitative approaches to collecting data and conducting multiple trials of qualitative observations. When possible and feasible, digital tools should be used.
3-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data to make sense of phenomena using logical reasoning.
Disciplinary Core Idea
LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. (Note: moved from K-2) (3-LS4-1)
Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments. (3-LS4-1)
Scale, Proportion, and Quantity
Observable phenomena exist from very short to very long time periods. (3-LS4-1)
Achieve, Inc. 2013. Next Generation Science Standards: For states, by states. Washington DC: National Academies Press.
National Research Council (NRC). 2012. A framework for K-12 science education: Practices, crosscutting concepts, and core ideas. Washington, DC: National Academies Press.
National Park Service U.S. Department of Interior. 2009. Junior Paleontologist Activity Book Ages 5-12.
Fossils. Melissa Stewart. 2003. Nonfiction book.
Fossils. Sally M. Walker. 2007. Nonfiction book.
Making Inferences From Fossilized Evidence
Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza? Lenny Hort. 2006. Picture book.
Prehistoric Actual Size. Steve Jenkins. 2005. Picture book.
Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs. Kathleen V. Kudlinski. 2005. Picture book.
Science Works Monster Bones: The Story of a Dinosaur Fossil. Jacqui Bailey. 2003. Nonfiction book.
Dinosaur Dig! Susan H. Gray. 2007. Nonfiction book.
Dinosaur Hunter. Elaine Marie Alphin. 2003. Fiction book.
Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning. Laurence Anholt. 2006. Picture book.
Mysteries of the Fossil Dig: How Paleontologists Learn About Dinosaurs. Pamela Rushby. 2006. Nonfiction book.
Dinosaurs! Battle of the Bones. Sharon Siamon. 2007. Nonfiction book.