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In this lesson, students play the roles of paleontologists on a dig. They “unearth” a few fossils at a time and attempt to reconstruct the animal the fossils represent.
UC Museum of Paleontology
The Fossil Find Worksheet is suitable for 6–12 grade students. Teachers of younger children may want to assemble more appropriate debriefing questions, such as:
• What do you think it was?
• How can you tell?
• Does it look like any animal you know today?
Student enthusiasm will largely hinge on your showpersonship reading the provided script, or nominating a student who would be good at this!. Assure them that they are working with replicas of real fossils and functioning the way paleontologists actually work. If you would like to use this activity again in the future, make sure students put the fossils back in the envelopes after finishing.
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.
- Fossils provide evidence of past life. (LS4.A)
- There are similarities and differences among fossils and living organisms. (LS4.A)
- Scientists base their ideas on evidence from the natural world. (P3, P6, P7, NOS8)
- Scientists study fossils and how and when they were formed. (LS4.A)
- Scientific ideas may change with new evidence. (NOS3)