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Lesson summary for:
Great Fossil Find

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Overview:
Students are taken on an imaginary fossil hunt and hypothesize as to the identity of the creature they discover. Students revise their hypotheses as new evidence is "found."

Author/Source:
ENSI

Grade level:
6-8

Time:
~40 minutes

Teaching tips:
An excellent lesson for demonstrating and discussing the nature of science. Adaptable to multiple grade levels. A similar lesson has been developed entitled Xenosmilus. Best to laminate sets of the “fossil bones” for repetitive use.

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Life forms of the past were in some ways very different from living forms of today, but in other ways very similar. (LS4.A)

  • Fossils provide evidence of past life. (LS4.A)

  • There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms. (LS4.A)

  • The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.

  • Scientists test their ideas using multiple lines of evidence.

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P6, NOS3)

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Science is a human endeavor. (NOS7)

Teacher background:

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