Fossil Record Teacher Resources
Find Fossil Record educational ideas and activities
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Examining the Fossil Record
Students create an evolutionary tree based on fossil morphology and their ages. In this fossil record lesson plan, students are given 23 pictures of fossil. They study their morphology and arrange the fossils by age and structures on a chart with time periods. Students tape the fossils in place and analyze their results to form a phylogenic tree.
New! The Day the Mesozoic Died
While this is not the traditional, step-by-step lesson plan, it is chock-full of material that you can easily incorporate into your earth history unit. Its main purpose is to serve as a guide to using a three-part film, The Day the Mesozoic Died, which uncovers evidence in the fossil record for the mass extinction at the end of the Cretaceous period. Key concepts, background information, discussion points, and quiz questions are provided. There are also several links to related resources such as video lectures, slide presentations, and posters.
The Rise and Fall of the Mammoths
Students develop an understanding of the evolution of species in the context of the woolly mammoth. They examine the fossil record to explain natural selection.
Students create mock fossil records based on current scientific theories about prehistory. By learning about what fossil records teach us about different prehistoric time periods, students gain a greater understanding of theories of prehistory in general.
Science: Making Trace Fossils
Students explore types of fossils and discover how sediment affects fossil preservation. They focus their study on trace fossils and create their own using sediment, water, and a small organism such as a snail or lizard. Students use plaster of Paris to make casts of the fossil to mimic the preservation of fossil records.
Learners explore the various ways in which geologists create fossil records. Working in pairs, students create a model of a fossil record through a hands on activity. They relate their experience to recent discoveries in geology and fossils.
The Fossil Record
Students research about the animals found in Burgess Shale. In this earth science lesson, students evaluate the significance of fossils in human history. They create models of their chosen animal.
Evolution and the Fossil Record
Engage young biologists with four laboratory activities that explore the fossil record. Learners examine fossil images, a fossil kit, the rock record, and geologic time scale. They even experiment with the oxygen production of an Elodea plant as an example of how the ancient atmosphere might have developed. Not only are activities provided, suggestions for comprehensive assessment questions are available as well. Use this resource as a complete mini-unit on evolutionary processes.
Students ask questions about the nature of science as they experience a 'Fossil Hunt'. They reconstruct a book that has been literally destroyed, just as the fossil record has been changed by billions of years of geological processes.
How Weathering Affects the Earth's Surface
Second graders investigate how weather causes erosion, and determine what a fossil is and how it show the change of the Earth over time. Students watch a teacher demonstration that shows what happens when water is poured over sand while they record their observations. Finally, they observe rocks that contain fossils, and discuss the fossil record.
How Science Works: Fossil Record - Televised Debate
Students compare the three theories used tp interpret fossil records. In this earth science lesson plan, students create a production of a televised debate. They collaborate with group members to generate relevant questions about the topic.
Where Are the Dinosaurs?
Students recognize that they haven't seen a dinosaur because they no longer exist. For this dinosaur lesson, students view videos and understand what the dinosaur habitat was like. Students role play dinosaurs. Students explore dinosaur egg models and discuss their survival in the habitat. Students make hatch-able dinosaur eggs.
The Fossil Record
In this fossil record worksheet, students review how fossils are formed, how a fossil's age is determined, what the fossil record reveals, and the geologic time scale. Students also compare the two theories of evolution. This worksheet has 23 fill in the blank statements and 8 short answer questions.
Fossils and Lithologic Units
Practicing paleontologists map the geologic time scale, simulate the formation of sedimentary rock, and analyze fossil data. Instructions for four activities and five assessment choices are provided for the teacher. This comprehensive lesson plan thoroughly exposes learners to the stages of evolution as evidenced by the fossil record.
Origin of Life
Twenty-seven slides will give your students a complete overview of the biological and chemical theories behind the development of life on Earth. There are fabulous real life photos and labelled diagrams to give details about the first eukaryotes, and explosions of diversity in history. Students could use this PowerPoint in an independent study or as a source of information for research.
Worksheet: Evidence of Darwin’s Evolutionary Theory at the Fossil Park
Take a close-up look at the evolution of hyenas in South Africa. Natural historians read about the five hyena species found in the fossil record and examine four statements that summarize the theory of evolution. As a culminating activity, pupils form groups and design a fact sheet about any modern member from the hyena family. This is an uncomplicated assignment to do with biology classes. You will appreciate the teacher's notes and grading rubric that are provided alongside.
Curious About Creepy Crawlies?
Students create oral presentations and visual aids to assist their inquiry about various insects. They reflect on the importance of learning about insects while working in small groups.
Evolution - The Nature of Change and Variation
The objective of this set of slides is to present four types of evidence for evolution: the fossil record, embryology, molecular biology, and comparative anatomy. Each facet of the argument is explored. This can be used in a high school biology course.
Physical Characteristics of Places: The Fossil Record
Students review the theory of plate tectonics; discuss how plate movements affect climate in various land regions; research and record the ways that climate has changed in various world regions over the past one hundred million years; explain how animals in these regions might have been affected by climate changes;
MACROEVOLUTION: Patterns, Trends, and Rates of Change
Students, in groups, examine the fossils, work on various rearrangements, and attempt to show any patterns, trends, and rates of change over time.