Name of Corresponding Unit Plan: Natural History & Geology
Grade Level: 6-12
Common Core Standards
RS.6-8.1. Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of science and technical texts.
RS.9-10.3 Follow precisely a complex multistep procedure when carrying out technical tasks.
RS.9-10.4. Determine the meaning of symbols, key terms, and other domain-specific words and phrases as they are used in a specific scientific or technical context.
Content Areas: Science, Technology
Recommended Length/Duration: 45-60 minutes
Learning Goals: Students will explore the various kinds of fossils associated with different geological periods. Students will learn to use an online research tool.
- Have available a variety of fossil samples gathered in the field or as part of a classroom collection.
- Introduce the activity by sharing the various fossil samples. Point out noteworthy characteristics, similarities and differences.
- Read aloud or have students read independently the introduction on the worksheet. Reinforce the basic inputs of location and shape for identifying fossils.
- Introduce the step by step directions for navigating the Paleontology Portal website. Read through these together if necessary.
- Have students work in pairs or independently to identify their samples using the Paleontology Portal tools. The teacher should circulate to help direct the inquiry and trouble shoot technical problems.
- Have students fill out their worksheets as they work through the identification process.
- Once most students have identified their sample, have them share their findings. If any students were unable to make a positive identification, discuss the features that created problems for them.
Assessments: Worksheets can be evaluated for completeness and accuracy.
Materials/Resources: Fossil samples, Access to internet, Fossil Identification worksheet (pdf)
Special Considerations: Some fossils may be impossible to positively identify. Be prepared with alternative samples so that everyone will be able to work through the search guide successfully.
Extension: Students may want to identify additional fossil samples. The Paleontology Portal website has many other features that students may wish to explore; www.paleoportal.org.