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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
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)
- A hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7)
- Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as we come up with new ideas and discover new evidence. (P6, NOS3)
- Our knowledge of the evolution of living things is always being refined as we gather more evidence.
- Scientists use fossils to learn about past life. (LS4.A, ESS1.C)
- Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.