Objective: Students will learn what fossils are and will begin to get an idea of how they form a picture of the past.
Suggested Time: 15 minutes
Reading Level: Upper Elementary
Fossils are the remains or evidence of animals or plants that have been preserved naturally. They range in size from huge dinosaur skeletons to MORE
Print or Project
- A Visual Overview: Show the slideshow of photos to your class. Each has a descriptive caption and kid-friendly copy for your students to read. (Please note that there is also more extensive teacher note copy just for you.)
- Creative Caption Review: Once you've been through the slideshow for an overview, go back through it again. This time ask students to explain why the captions do (or do not!) work. (Example: Do you think the caption "Only Bones?" is a good one for the slide showing the insect trapped in amber? Why or why not?)
Click the thumbnail slides below to see the captions and kid-friendly copy up close.
- Continue the Conversation: Ask students if they've ever seen a recreation of a dinosaur in a museum. Remind them that paleontologists don't really know what dinosaurs looked like when they were alive; however, they make educated guesses with the information they have to help artists make "best guesses" about the dinosaurs' appearances.
- Write about it: Have students pretend they are the paleontologist who identified the first living coelacanth that was caught in 1938. Ask them to write a letter to a fellow scientist telling him or her the news!
Reinforcements: These worksheets will be useful as you further develop your teaching unit. The Word Power worksheet will give your students vocabulary practice with key terms from this mini-lesson and the related activity will help reinforce key concepts on fossils.
Stunning real-life photographs of the spectacular remains of ancient lives offer a unique "eyewitness" view of what fossils are, how they were formed, and how they lived millions of years ago.
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