Você está na página 1de 30
Portable Collections Program Fossils
Portable Collections Program
Fossils

Table of Contents

Checklist: What’s in the Case? ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

1

Information for the Teacher: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– 3

How to Handle and Look At Museum Specimens An Introduction to Fossils Information About the Specimens in the Case

Activities to Do with Your Students: ––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––11

  • 1 Introductory Activity: Paleo Puzzle

  • 2 Examining and Classifying Fossils

  • 3 Make a Fossil Cast

  • 4 Footprint Forensics

  • 5 Create A 3-D Geologic Time Model

  • 6 Additional Activities and Curricular Connections

Resources and Reference Materials: –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– Vocabulary Words Connections with New York State Learning Standards Corresponding Field Trips Bibliography and Web Resources

24

CHECKLIST: WHAT’S IN THE CASE?

What’s in the Case?

 

Specimens

 
 
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
 

Ammonites (2)

Trilobites (2)

Brachiopods (3)

#0996, 0997

#0731, 0995

#0052, 0946

What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,

Tabulate coral

Fossil fish

Pelecypod

#658

#1380

#0978

What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,

Gastropod

Echinoderm

Shark tooth

 

#0042

#0538

#1283

What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,

Baculite

Ichthyosaurus vertebra

Eurypterid

#0984, 0996, 0997

#1278

#1117

What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,
What’s in the Case? Specimens Ammonites (2) Trilobites (2) Brachiopods (3) #0996, 0997 #0731, 0995 #0052,

Dinosaur footprint

Gastrolith

Oreodont jaw section

#1343

#1264

#1329

FOSSILS 1

CHECKLIST: WHAT’S IN THE CASE?

What’s in the Case?

 

Specimens

 
 
What’s in the Case? Specimens Graveyard Insect in amber Fern leaf #0658 #0999 #0908 Petrified wood
What’s in the Case? Specimens Graveyard Insect in amber Fern leaf #0658 #0999 #0908 Petrified wood
 
What’s in the Case? Specimens Graveyard Insect in amber Fern leaf #0658 #0999 #0908 Petrified wood

Graveyard

Insect in amber

Fern leaf

#0658

#0999

#0908

What’s in the Case? Specimens Graveyard Insect in amber Fern leaf #0658 #0999 #0908 Petrified wood

Petrified wood

#1787

Tools & Resources

 
 

Geologic Time Chart (laminated poster) from Brooklyn Children’s Museum

 

Eyewitness: Fossil by Paul D. Taylor

 

Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki Brandenberg

 

FOSSILS 2

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

Guidelines for Handling Museum Specimens

Notes about Object-Based Learning and Inquiry

Learning to handle objects from the Museum’s natural history collection with respect can be part of the educational experience of the case. Please follow these guidelines in handling objects in the case:

Learning about paleontology by examining fossil specimens is much different from reading about it in a book. Specimens have the power to tell us many things, provided we are willing to look at them in detail and think about what those details

Students may handle the specimens, carefully, under your supervision.

mean. Encourage your students to carefully examine the fossils and touch them gently. Have them describe the specimen’s shape, size, and color.

Hold larger specimens with two hands.

Ask them questions about what they see, and what

Hold them by the solid part of the body or by

their observations might tell them. For example:

the strongest area rather than by rims, edges or protruding parts.

What do you see in the specimens? Describe their shape, color, and structure. (It is important

Do not shake objects or the plexiglass cases they may be housed in.

that your students use visual clues based on their observations when giving their answers.)

 

What do you want to know about them?

Temperature differences, direct sunlight, and water can be very harmful to museum objects.

What else can you see?

Please keep the objects away from radiators and

open windows, and keep them secure.

Guidelines for Handling Museum Specimens Notes about Object-Based Learning and Inquiry Learning to handle objects from

You can assist this process by encouraging your students to examine individual fossils in detail, and to think about what those details might mean. Ask them questions about what they see, and what that might tell them. As the conversation begins to grow, you can ask more questions about the specimen:

What does this fossil look like? How does it com-

pare to other specimens in the case? What kind of fossil is this? How was it preserved? How can you tell?

Providing books and Internet access for researching these and other questions encourages students to make discoveries that further their knowledge about fossils.

FOSSILS 3

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

An Introduction to Fossils

 

To the teacher

 
under successive layers of soil. Its hard parts—

under successive layers of soil. Its hard parts—

Millions of years ago, the world looked very different from how it does now. Trilobites and ammonites lived in New York City. Dinosaurs roamed Connecticut and New Jersey. In Wyoming, there were ancient seas full of fish where now there are grassy plains and hills. How do we know all this? Through fossils!

Fossils provide us with a record of life on Earth from its earliest times, a topic that has fascinated genera- tions of children (and adults) and continues to inspire movies, books, and even toys. The authentic fossil specimens in this Portable Collections case let your students hold in their hands a piece of ancient history. You can use these fossils to fuel students’ curiosity and enthusiasm about ancient life, and to introduce its scientific side as well. The activities in this teacher guide support exploration into how fossils are made, discovered, and classified. Wherever possible, we have

usually bones or shells—were all that survived

also included connections to other curriculum areas, including the arts and language arts.

decay. Shark and mammal teeth and tusks are good examples of unaltered fossils. Alteration. This is a variation of burial in which the

What is a fossil?

hard parts are dissolved by circulating water and are replaced by minerals. If this happens very slowly, the microscopic structures of the organism are duplicated. If it happens quickly, only the gen-

A fossil is the remains of an organism (plant or animal) that lived long ago. There are the two types of fossils: body fossils, where the organism itself or some part or impression of it was preserved, and trace fossils, that preserve evidence of the organism’s presence but not the organism itself. Trace fossils are more common, since a single organism will move around and leave lots of evidence over time, whereas it has only one body.

eral form shows. Fossils formed by alteration are called replacement fossils. Petrifaction, which means “turning to stone,” and involves replace- ment of organic material by the mineral silica, is a type of alteration. Freezing. Organisms that froze after death and have not changed are very rare and never very old. They are usually mammoths and rhinoceroses of the last ice age that fell into pits of ice and were frozen. (There are no examples of frozen fossils in the case.)

How are fossils created?

Compression or carbonization. Compression occurs

The methods by which fossils are formed are quite varied and often dramatic, ranging from simple footprints that have hardened into molds to actual, whole bodies preserved by freezing.

when layers of sediment press so hard on the organic remains that they are flattened. At its most extreme, the plant or animal is reduced to a shiny black carbon film in the form of its original shape. Many leaf fossils are the result of carbonization.

Molds and casts. Sometimes shells, tree stumps,

Simple burial. The organism died and was buried

or other remains were trapped in sediment that

 

FOSSILS 4

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

 

An Introduction to Fossils (continued)

hardened. Eventually the dead organism decayed and dissolved, leaving a cavity known as a natural mold. It may fill up with other sediments, in which case it becomes a cast. Amber. Amber is the fossilized sap of ancient pine

Stone tools and weapons made by ancient peoples

The study of fossils is called paleontology. Paleontologists study fossils to help us understand the life of the distant past. They use their knowledge of living organisms to bring life to fragments of bones and shells millions of years old. They compare the

trees. Sometimes it contains fossil insects or other small animals that got trapped in the sticky sap. Other methods. Animals caught in asphalt pits

remains of ancient life with present-day plants and animals in order to determine what the ancient crea- tures were like. Through their study of fossils, they

(such as the La Brea tar pits in Los Angeles) are fossils. So are animals that were mummified natu- rally in semi-arid climates. Tracks, trails, burrows, and borings are impressions

are able to identify plants and animals that flourished millions of years ago and to reconstruct the environ- ments they inhabited.

left by an organism’s movements. The most famous fossils of this type are dinosaur footprints, like the one in the case. Gastroliths, coprolites, and eggs and nests are

Fossils enable paleontologists to determine the sequence of change and adaptation as the number of species increased and became more complex. They can document the evolution of elephants from pig-

other examples of trace fossils. They are evidence of the organism, but not the organism itself.

are also sometimes called fossils, although they are different from natural history fossils in that they were made by humans instead of by nature. They have been found in many parts of the world. Some of the oldest artifacts belonged to hunters and have been found with the bones of extinct animals.

sized creatures which lived 20 to 40 millions years ago to the giants they are now. Fossils indicate that horseshoe crabs and cockroaches, however, have not changed in hundreds of millions of years. Paleontologists also identify extinct creatures, such as dinosaurs, which dominated life millions of years ago, but are known today only through fossil remains. The history of early humans is based on fossil remains found in many parts of the world. Many gaps in our knowledge of earlier life still exist, but

Why are fossils important?

new discoveries are always possible as paleontologists strive to complete the picture of the past.

Throughout geologic time the earth has been in the process of change. These changes have drastically altered environmental conditions and all living organ- isms. The earth is still in the midst of many changes that cannot be detected during the relatively short span of our lives. Most geologic change must be con- sidered in terms of millions, or even billions, of years. Continents have drifted apart and together, glaciers have advanced and retreated, mountains have formed and eroded, groups of plants and animals have appeared, flourished and disappeared. This is the history of our planet, and its story has been recorded for us in fossils.

Fossils are also important economically. Coal, oil, and natural gas are all examples of fossil fuels. Coal is a shiny black rock formed from the remains of great trees, some 150 feet high, and other plants that thrived in low swamps during the Carboniferous period. Oil, which is millions of years old, is believed to have formed from plant and animals remains. Natural gas may have come from oil that heated up inside the earth or from ancient plants that rotted in swamps. The topic of fossil fuels can spark lively dis- cussions of conservation, since we are rapidly deplet- ing these non-renewable underground resources in our quest for energy.

 

FOSSILS 5

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

An Introduction to Fossils (continued)

Where are fossils found?

How do we know how old a fossil is?

The majority of fossils are found in sedimentary rock. Sedimentary rock is formed from pieces (sediments) of mud, sand, and clay that settle in layers and grad- ually harden into rock. The sediments were produced by the processes that wear down the earth’s surface. Other rocks (igneous and metamorphic) are subject to forces that usually destroy fossils. The materials in sedimentary rock provide ideal conditions for preserv- ing fossils. Remains of organisms are buried in the sediment and lie undisturbed throughout the long process of fossilization. In many places the sedimen- tary rock is covered with soil or glacial deposits, so fossil-bearing rock lies deep beneath the surface. Consequently, fossil hunting is restricted to places where the sedimentary rock is exposed, such as cliffs, riverbanks, road cuts and quarries. Paleontologists organize expeditions similar to those of archaeologists to dig for fossils in areas known for their scientific significance. Some fossils of great importance, how- ever, have been unearthed by chance during the course of building construction, mining, or natural disasters that expose layers of earth previously inac- cessible to scientists.

The history of the Earth is told not in months, years, or even centuries, but in millions of years. Scientists estimate that the earth is 4-1/2 billion years old and that life began to evolve from a few single-celled organisms at least 3.4 billion years ago. This vast span of time is known as geologic time. Geologists (the scientists who study the entire history of the earth, not just fossils) have devised a special time scale, based on millions of years. By studying the rate at which sediments form in bays and basins, they esti- mated how long it took for each layer of sedimentary rock to form. They also use index fossils—fossils that are found only in a particular layer of sedimentary rock—to prove that different layers of rock, miles or even continents apart, were formed at the same time. Finally they determined that the layers fit into four great divisions called eras. The eras are divided into smaller units called periods. The Geological Time Scale poster in the case shows the eras and periods, the changing life forms in each, and the relative scale of the eras.

Even with this scale, however, geologists cannot date individual fossils or rocks in years. Instead they

Even with this scale, however, geologists cannot date individual fossils or rocks in years. Instead they use a method based on the breakdown of radioactive ele- ments (such as uranium) in the rocks around the fossil. These elements have unstable atomic nuclei that break down at a steady, measurable rate to form more stable elements. By measuring the rate of the unstable element to the stable element associated with it, they can get an accurate measure of the age of the rock. This is called the atomic clock method.

Words in boldface have been included in the Vocabulary Words section on page 24.

FOSSILS 6

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

Information About the Specimens in the Case

AMMONITES

BRACHIOPODS

Ammonites are extinct marine mollusks similar to the nautilus. These small, soft-bodied crea- tures had a

Ammonites are extinct marine mollusks similar to the nautilus. These small, soft-bodied crea- tures had a hard outer shell divided into chambers. The colorful, pearly luster of one of the specimens is what

Ammonites are extinct marine mollusks similar to the nautilus. These small, soft-bodied crea- tures had a

Brachiopods are small marine invertebrates with two shells that encase the animal’s soft body (like a modern clam). Brachiopods are commonly known as lamp shells because many of them are shaped like

remains of the inside of the animal’s shell. Another specimen is embedded in rock (called the matrix). Ammonites lived from the early Devonian period until the end of the Cretaceous period (about 400 to 65 million years ago). They thrived all over the earth and were easily preserved, so they are very common fossils. They also evolved into different species quite rapidly. These two facts combine to make them a very useful index fossil for paleontologists; since they know when different species of ammonites existed, they can often deter- mine the age of a layer of rock by looking at the ammonites found within it.

ancient Roman oil lamps. There are about 325 living species and about 12,000 fossil forms. Brachiopods were a dominant form of life in the oceans for much of the Paleozoic era, which spanned millions of years. Brachiopods evolved into many different species, and members of the largest species grew to more than one foot in diameter. Billions of their shells accumulated in sea beds and fossilized. Since fossil brachiopods are so abundant and diverse, paleontologists use them as index fossils to determine the age of the rocks in which they are found.

TABULATE CORAL

TRILOBITES

TRILOBITES Trilobites are extinct members

Trilobites are extinct members

TRILOBITES Trilobites are extinct members

Corals are simple aquatic ani-

fossil record. Tabulate corals

of the arthropod family (which includes spiders, insects, and lobsters). They lived from the beginning of the Cambrian period through the end of the Permian period (about 542 to

mals lacking advanced organ systems. They live together in colonies. Corals secrete a hard, limy skeleton whose durability accounts for the fact that they are well represented in the

248 million years ago). These small marine animals fed on the mud of the ocean

were confined to the Paleozoic Era.

floor. A trilobite's body was divided into three parts—

FOSSIL FISH

floor. A trilobite's body was divided into three parts— FOSSIL FISH

the head, thorax (middle section), and tail—which gave the animal its name ("tri" means "three" in Latin). Trilobites are common and well-known fossils, with more than 15,000 species documented in the fossil record.

Sometime between 36 and 58 million years ago, this fossil fish was buried in an ocean bed located in what is now Wyoming. It was preserved in a mud shale matrix. The brown color defining the shape of the

fish is a thin layer of carbon left as the organic matter decayed. The backbone and other parts of the skeleton are visible.

 

FOSSILS 7

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

Information About the Specimens in the Case (continued)

PELECYPOD

SHARK TOOTH

Pelecypods are marine bivalves that count oysters, mussels and clams among their living members. This fossil

Pelecypods are marine bivalves that count oysters, mussels and clams among their living members. This fossil pelecy- pod is between 13 and 25 million years old. The shell still contains most of its original

This shark’s tooth is between 25 and 36 million years old. The outer layers are all

This shark’s tooth is between 25 and 36 million years old. The outer layers are all original material. According to the fossil evidence, sharks first appeared in the Devonian period (385 million years ago),

material. It has lost much of its color, but the hardy limy substance has changed very little.

GASTROPOD

when marine life was especially abundant. Since that time sharks evolved into a wide range of shapes and sizes. Today there are over 1100 species of cartilaginous fishes, all of which evolved from the earliest sharks.

Gastropods are mollusks, like snails, clams, and other shelled Cretaceous period. Nothing ECHINODERM

Gastropods are mollusks, like

snails, clams, and other shelled

Cretaceous period. Nothing

ECHINODERM

BACULITE

animals. Gastropods have a well-developed head and a muscular foot, and most have a spiral-shaped shell. This fossil gastropod dates from the

remains of the animal’s soft body, but the gloss of its shell’s inner layer can still be seen in some places. The rest of the gastropod has been replaced by other minerals.

Collected in South Dakota, this fossil is a piece of a shell belonging to a baculite

Collected in South Dakota, this fossil is a piece of a shell belonging to a baculite that lived during the Cretaceous period. Baculites were marine animals related to ammonites. Most of the original material

from this shell has been replaced by other minerals. The patterns of white, squiggly lines are from sutures (the part of the shell where the walls dividing it into chambers connected with the inner surface of the shell wall).

Echinoderms are marine animals whose bodies are Carboniferous period. Small

Echinoderms are marine animals whose bodies are

Carboniferous period. Small

Paleontologists use suture patterns to identify different species of baculites.

covered with hard plates or spines. Starfish, sand dollars,

ICHTHYOSAURUS VERTEBRA

and sea urchins are echino- derms. This specimen is a sea biscuit that lived during the

hairs that covered the body are missing, and the original shell material and its interior have been replaced by other minerals. The tiny holes that form the petal design on its surface were used for breath- ing. Sand dollars appeared in the Paleocene and, of course, can still be found in warmer waters today.

This is an example of an altered fossil, meaning that the original bone matter dis- solved

This is an example of an altered fossil, meaning that the original bone matter dis- solved and was replaced by other minerals. Ichthyosaurs (Greek for "fish lizards") were carnivorous marine reptiles

that lived from the Triassic to the Cretaceous period. They had streamlined, fish-like bodies with a long snout, a large tail fin, and limbs adapted for use as steering paddles. Although they looked like fish, they weren’t; instead, ichthyosaurs evolved from unidentified land reptiles that moved back into the water.

FOSSILS 8

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

Information About the Specimens in the Case (continued)

EURYPTERID

GASTROLITH

Also known as a “sea scorpi- on,” a eurypterid is an extinct animal whose closest living

Also known as a “sea scorpi- on,” a eurypterid is an extinct animal whose closest living relative is the horseshoe crab. Eurypterids were hunters, feeding on trilobites and cephalopods. They could be

Also known as a “sea scorpi- on,” a eurypterid is an extinct animal whose closest living

Smooth, round pebbles like this one have often been found near dinosaur bones, or even inside dinosaur rib cages. Some dinosaurs (espe- cially plant-eaters) did not have teeth suitable for grind-

as big as six and a half feet long, but most were much smaller. They had a fused head and thorax with two pairs of eyes and six pairs of appendages. Twelve tapering segments, usually ending in a spike, completed the body. This specimen shows some of those segments. Eurypterids lived in the Paleozoic era, from the Ordovician to the Permian periods. Their fossils are relatively rare, but have been found on nearly every continent. The eurypterid is the state fossil of New York State, where it lived in the Silurian period.

ing up their food, so they swallowed large, rough stones. The stones came to rest in a dinosaur's stomach, where they pounded food into smaller pieces to help the animal's diges- tion. That is how gastroliths (“stomach stones”) got their name. Eventually the gastroliths would be worn down to the point where they were too small or too smooth to be useful for grinding. Then the dinosaurs would get rid of the stones (by either vomiting them up or passing them out in their dung), and swallow new ones.

DINOSAUR FOOTPRINT

OREODONT JAW SECTION

This rock contains a footprint left by a Tuberosis dinosaur during the Jurassic period. The dinosaur

This rock contains a footprint left by a Tuberosis dinosaur during the Jurassic period. The dinosaur stepped in mud, and over time the mud turned into red sandstone. This specimen was collected from a rock for-

This rock contains a footprint left by a Tuberosis dinosaur during the Jurassic period. The dinosaur

Oreodonts were sheep-sized herbivores (plant eaters). This specimen shows how their broad, flat teeth were well adapted for grazing. Oreodonts thrived all over North America from the

mation in Connecticut. Since dinosaurs are now extinct, it is difficult for scientists to know much about how they lived, moved, and behaved. However, fossils like this footprint may pro- vide paleontologists with a rare window into dinosaur behavior. For example, the depth and shape of footprints may demonstrate that certain species of dinosaur walked upright or on all four legs. Also, the distance between two footprints in a set of dinosaur tracks may yield clues about that dinosaur's posture or how fast it could run.

Eocene (55 million to 37 millions years ago) through the Pliocene (from 5 million to about 1.8 million years ago) epochs. It is difficult to explain their appearance in terms of modern animals; some scientists have compared them to small deer with pig-like heads. These animals also have a rather strange family tree; while they were most closely related to the modern sheep, they were distantly linked to both pigs and camels!

GRAVEYARD

“Graveyard” is the term for a conglomeration of fossils. This conglomeration of marine fossils includes sponges,

“Graveyard” is the term for a conglomeration of fossils. This conglomeration of marine fossils includes sponges, corals, and crinoids, all preserved in this one specimen.

FOSSILS 9

INFORMATION FOR THE TEACHER

Information About the Specimens in the Case (continued)

INSECT IN AMBER

Millions of years ago, the insect inside this piece of amber landed on a tree and

Millions of years ago, the insect inside this piece of amber landed on a tree and got stuck in its sticky resin. Over time, that resin (or sap) grew harder and eventually turned into a type of fossil

You and your students can learn more about these specimens and other objects from around the world by visiting Collections Central Online at www.brooklynkids.org/emuseum.

known as amber. The same chemical processes that turned the fresh resin into fossilized amber also preserved the insect trapped within it. Many insects, spiders, and even small animals (like frogs or lizards) have been preserved this way.

FERN LEAF

This fern fossil dates from the Carboniferous period. It is a mold of the original plant,

This fern fossil dates from the Carboniferous period. It is a mold of the original plant, and was exposed when a fossil hunter split the rock open. For millions of years, ferns domi- nated the earth's greenery.

They covered the floors of damp forests and swamps all around the globe. But the majority of fern species that existed in the era of this fossil fern are now extinct. For the most part, modern ferns look the same as ferns that lived millions of years ago. However, the fern in this specimen would have looked more like a tree than a small plant. It had a hard trunk and grew to a height of 13 feet!

PETRIFIED WOOD

This ancient piece of wood has turned to stone after mil- lions of years. The original

This ancient piece of wood has turned to stone after mil- lions of years. The original organic material dissolved and was replaced by other min- erals (probably a silicate, like quartz). This process occurred

underground, when the wood was buried under sediment. Mineral-rich water flow- ing through the sediment deposited minerals in the wood’s cells, and as the plant decayed away, a stone cast was left in its place.

FOSSILS 10

ACTIVITY 1

Introductory Activity: Paleo Puzzle

Grades 3–5 Related Specimens: All

Right or wrong, children tend to have already an assort- ment of knowledge about fossils. This class discussion is intended to make that knowledge public and shared among the group. It provides a starting place for the next activity. The word puzzle introduces some basic fossil terms, which you may define for students or ask them to look up on their own and/or share.

Materials:

Blackboard or chart paper

A small selection of specimens from the case

Copies of Paleo Puzzle worksheet on the next page, one per student

What To Do:

1

Lead a discussion on the topic of fossils. Start by asking students what they know about fossils and about life on earth millions of years ago. List their statements on the board or chart paper, without comment or contra- diction. Together the comments create a baseline of information, imagery, and questions for the whole class to pursue.

2

Ask the students the Discussion Questions below and any others that you think will stimulate their thinking. They will not have answers to everything, but even paleontologists may not. Remind them that by asking questions they are helping to define the scope of the topic for the class’s work.

3

Pass around one or two of the fossils from the case (such as the eurypterid and a gastrolith) without telling the class what they are. What makes each object a fossil? What kind of fossil do they think it is? Ask each student to come up with a question about one (or both) of the fossils. List these in a second column on the board or chart paper.

  • 4 Hand out the Paleo Puzzle worksheet that introduces fossil terms and have the students fill it out. After they compare their results (the answers are below), you can define the terms for them, or have students work individually or in groups to look the terms up in books or on the Internet.

Discussion Questions:

What is a fossil?

What kinds of things can be fossils?

Is a fossil a real animal or plant?

What parts of an animal might become fossils? Why

might some parts become fossils and not others? What could a fossil be made of?

How old does something have to be to be considered

a fossil? How do we know how old a fossil is? How might a scientist be able to tell?

See page 25 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards.

Worksheet Answer Key:

T A D E S U T Y R A T N E M I D
T
A
D
E
S
U
T
Y
R
A
T
N
E M
I
D
E
S
R
M M B
U
N H
I
E
G
R
O O U
V
Z
O C
K M
J
G H
R
V
B
I K
J
L
A
N
I
E
O
J
K
O
E
J
K
B
Y
C
B Q
D
N
X
B M P M C
T
N
T
I Z
Y
J
P
E
M
J
J
T
Y
L
H
U
U
C
I S
T
B Q O H
T
B O Y
S
Q
Z
J
N
Z
V
T
G
Y
A
G
E
L
F
E
L M T
E
C
L
P
C
X
E
P
I
J
A
M Q
B
Z
R
N M Y
U
E M C
H
T W K
A
S
L
I J
H
P
I
I A
T
R
U
S
V
E W S
C
T
C
N
I
L M S
D
I
B
L
U
V
Z
R W
I
H
R
E
E
M O
A
I
S
L C N
R
R
H
A
X
R
X
O
Z W N
G N
N
B
C
R
P
O W
S
X
R
C
O
L
R
Y
A
O
E
P
C
R
N
J
A
F
A
U W X
L
I N
T
S
Q
Z
F
U
P
T
O
S
P
F
P
E
M
I
T
L
A
C
I G O
L
O
E
G O
T
U
T
A
L
T
H
U
A
I P
C
Y
I M
F
Q H
E
W T
F
U
H
R
T
R
P
T
T
S
A
C
I B
T
R
I
T
K
T
T
D
C
S
I R
T
Q B
Y
T
I H
N
A
L
B
A
C
U
L
I T
E
R
I
B W P
A
Y
A
M
I C
T
R
A
Z
P
Y
R
K
L
O
A
R
R
H N
D
F
O
V
D
C
R
U
L
U
A
H
A
D
L
N C
O
E
U
B
E
O H O M Y
D
J
C
L
C
K
E
I
D
Q
A
L T
R
Y
S
A
A
A
Y
R
E
H
Z W
I
D
R R
I O
R
S
X
P
T
D N O
Z
A
L
C
K
G
Y
U W C
S W Y
G O
L
O
T
N O
E
L A
P
RESEARCH AND LITERACY EXTENSION: GRADES 3–5 Identify some of the questions generated by the discussion for
RESEARCH AND
LITERACY EXTENSION:
GRADES 3–5
Identify some of the questions generated by the discussion for students to
research. They can share their answers in a subsequent discussion, or write
a short report on their findings.
FOSSILS 11
Paleo Puzzle CIRCLE THE T A D E S U T Y R A T N
Paleo Puzzle CIRCLE THE T A D E S U T Y R A T N
Paleo
Puzzle
CIRCLE THE
T
A
D
E
S
U
T
Y
R
A
T
N
E M
I
D E
S
FOLLOWING
TERMS:
R M M B
U
N H
I
E
G
R
O O U
V
Z
O C
K M
J
G H
R
V
B
I
K
J
L A
N
I
E
O
J
Ammonite
Baculite
Cast
Cenozoic
Dinosaur
Eurypterid
Era
Gastrolith
Geological Time
Mold
Paleontology
Sedimentary
Trace
K
O
E
J
K
B
Y
C
B Q
D N
X
B M P M C
T
N
T
I Z
Y
J
P
E
M J
J
T
Y
L H
U
U
C
I S
T
B Q O H
T
B O Y
S
Q
Z
J
N
Z
V
T
G
Y
A
G
E
L
F
E
L M T
E
C
L
P
C
X
E
P
I
J
B
Z
R
N M Y
U
E M C
H
T W K
A
A M Q
S
L
I J
H
P
I
I A
T
R
U
S
V
E W S
C
T
C N
I
L M S
D
I
B
L U
V
Z
R W
I
H
R
E
E
M O
A
I
S
L C N
R
R
H
A
X
R
X O
Z W N
G N
N
B
C
R
P
O W
S
X
R
C O
L
R
Y
A
O
E
P
C
R
N
J
A
F
A
U W X
L
I N
T
S
Q
Z
F
U
P
T
O
S
P
F
P
E
M
I
T
L
A
C
I G O
L
O
E
G O
T
U
T
A
L
T
H
U
A
I
P
C
Y
I M
F
Q H
E
W T
F
U
H
R
T
R
P
T
T
S
A
C
I B
T
R
I
T
K
T
T
D
C
S
I R
T
Q B
Y
T
I H
N
A
L
B
A
C
U
L
I T
E
R
I
B W P
A
Y
A
M
I C
T
R
A
Z
P
Y
R
K
L
O
A
R
R
H N
D
F
O
V
D C
R
U
L
U
A
H
A
D
L N C
O
E
U
B
E
O H O M Y
D
J
C
L
C
K
E
I D
Q
A
L
T
R
Y
S
A
A
A
Y
R
E
H
Z W
I
D
R R
I O
R
S
X
P
T
D N O
Z
A
L C
K
G
Y
U W C
S W Y
G O
L
O
T
N O
E
L
A
P

ACTIVITY 2

Examining and Classifying Fossils

Grades 3–5 Related Specimens: All

This activity gives your students a chance to look closely at real fossils and form hypotheses about what these organisms were and how they survived to tell us about the past.

Materials:

Fossils from the case

Timeline poster from the case

Copies of the “What Can Specimens Tell Me?” chart, one per student OR, for a whole class exercise, a transparency of the chart and an overhead projector

Blackboard OR chart paper for recording group observations

What To Do:

1

Depending on the age and interests of your students and the amount of time you would like to spend, you can do this activity using a handful of specimens or every specimen in the case. It can be done in small groups or as a class, looking at the specimens in turn and filling out the chart using an overhead projector or large chart paper.

2

For small groups, prior to the presentation of the lesson, set the classroom up into stations (make sure there are enough stations that you have only 3–4 students working at each one). Place one or more specimens at each station.

3

Distribute the “What Can Specimens Tell Me?” chart and go over it with the students. Ask them to pay special attention to the physical properties of each of the specimens. You may want to practice with the class, using one of the specimens to model the activity, if you have not already done the Introductory Activity.

  • 4 Have the students fill in their charts as they look at the specimens. After a few minutes, the groups should rotate to a new station. Repeat this step as many times as you like.

  • 5 Have the students reconvene as a class to discuss their findings. You may want to use the chart paper to make notes about the students’ observations.

  • 6 When you feel they have gone as far as they can with what they observed, introduce information from your own knowledge, this guide, or other resources about the different types of fossils (how they were made). Then have students sort the fossils into categories according to how they were made.

Discussion Questions:

How could a living organism (such as a plant or an

animal) turn into a rock? What might make that happen? How are some of the fossils alike or different?

Which fossils give a more complete image of the

organism? Why might that be? Which fossils are the actual organism and which ones

are a “print” or impression of it? Which fossils are the oldest? How might a paleontol-

ogist tell? Why are gastroliths and shark’s teeth considered fossils?

See page 25 for details on how this activity meets New York State Learning Standards.

SCIENCE EXTENSION: GEOLOGIC TIME Using the timeline poster provided, have students re-sort the fossils according to
SCIENCE
EXTENSION:
GEOLOGIC TIME
Using the timeline poster provided, have students re-sort the fossils according
to geologic era and period. Which fossils are the earliest? (There will be a
number for which no clear date is possible. You can point out that
paleontologists face this dilemma, too. How do they figure out the dates?)

FOSSILS 13

What can specimens tell me? Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand
What can
specimens
tell me?
Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand lens if necessary. What can
you tell about the fossil just by looking at the specimen in detail? Use this chart to record
what you discover.
What can you
see of the
original plant or
animal? What color is it?
What color and texture is
the background of the
fossil? Is the rock
layered?
What type of plant or
animal created this fossil?
Is the fossil an actual
plant or animal, or a
“print” of it? Why do you
think so?

PREDATORS AND PREY 14

What can specimens tell me? Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand
What can
specimens
tell me?
Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand lens if necessary. What can
you tell about the fossil just by looking at the specimen in detail? Use this chart to record
what you discover.
What can you
see of the
original plant or
animal? What color is it?
What color and texture is
the background of the
fossil? Is the rock
layered?
What type of plant or
animal created this fossil?
Is the fossil an actual
plant or animal, or a
“print” of it? Why do you
think so?
PREDATORS
REPTILES
AND 15PREY 15
What can specimens tell me? Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand
What can
specimens
tell me?
Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand lens if necessary. What can
you tell about the fossil just by looking at the specimen in detail? Use this chart to record
what you discover.
What can you
see of the
original plant or
animal? What color is it?
What color and texture is
the background of the
fossil? Is the rock
layered?
What type of plant or
animal created this fossil?
Is the fossil an actual
plant or animal, or a
“print” of it? Why do you
think so?

REPTILES 16

What can specimens tell me? Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand
What can
specimens
tell me?
Use your senses to observe each specimen carefully, using a hand lens if necessary. What can
you tell about the fossil just by looking at the specimen in detail? Use this chart to record
what you discover.
What can you
see of the
original plant or
animal? What color is it?
What color and texture is
the background of the
fossil? Is the rock
layered?
What type of plant or
animal created this fossil?
Is the fossil an actual
plant or animal, or a
“print” of it? Why do you
think so?

ACTIVITY 3

Make a Fossil Cast

All Grades Related Specimens: Brachiopod, tabulate coral, pelecypod, baculite, eurypterid

This is a fun and simple way to demonstrate how some

body fossils are made!

Materials:

Plastic toy animals, coins, rocks, or other objects

Empty tuna cans or similar small, shallow containers;

alternatively, use strips of oak tag cut about 2” wide,

cardboard squares, and a stapler

Modeling clay

Plaster of Paris, water, container and spatula for mixing

Optional: can opener

What To Do:

1

Introduce the activity by reviewing what a body fossil

is and telling the class that they will be creating a

“fossil” and making a cast of it.

2

Give each student a can or, if using oak tag, have

them create a small container by stapling the ends of

the oak tag together to make a ring and place it on

a cardboard square.

3

Give each student a small piece of clay and have him

or her pick an object to “fossilize.” First have them

roll the clay into a ball and press the ball flat, filling

the bottom of the container to not less than one inch

in depth.

4

Ask students to pick one of the small objects to

“fossilize,” press it into the clay, and remove it, leaving

a “fossil” mold of the body.

5

Mix the plaster of Paris to the consistency of pancake

batter. Pour it into the containers on top of the clay

mold, and let it harden for at least 24 hours.

  • 6 Remove the cast from the cardboard container or tin can (it may be easiest to open the bottom of the can with a can opener and push the cast out), and clean off the clay. Voila! Everyone now has a “fossil” cast of the object they chose.

Alternatives for Younger Students:

Have students roll the clay into a ball and press it flat

on a cardboard square. Then have them press one

hand into the clay hard enough to make a print. Have

them hold their prints up to show and talk about how

animals and plants millions of years ago printed mud

and soft rocks in the same way and left their traces

for us to find.

Have students make a leaf print art by rubbing a

crayon over a piece of paper that has leaves

underneath it.

Discussion Questions:

How is the toy (or other small object they use to

stand for the organism) different from a real specimen

after it dies? What happens to an animal after it dies

and is buried?

What is the difference between the way you made the

mold and the way a fossil mold would be created?

(Hint: The fossil mold would be created after the

organism was buried and then decayed, leaving a

cavity.)

How might a buried fossil mold be exposed so that

someone today could discover it?

See page 25 for details on how this activity meets

New York State Learning Standards.

LITERACY Have students imagine themselves as paleontologists looking for fossils, and tell or EXTENSION: write the
LITERACY
Have students imagine themselves as paleontologists looking for fossils, and tell or
EXTENSION:
write the story of how they came across the fossil they just made in the activity
above. What kind of land were they exploring? What adventures did they have
getting to where they were digging? How deep did they dig? What tools did they
use? What happened afterwards?

FOSSILS 18

ACTIVITY 4

Footprint Forensics

Grades 3–5 Related Specimen: Dinosaur footprint

By studying footprint patterns revealed in stages, students

examine the evidence and make hypotheses about the

story the footprints tell.

Materials:

Copies of each of the Footprint Patterns, one per

student (see page following this activity) OR an over-

head transparency of each of the Footprint Patterns

What To Do:

1

To prepare for this activity, make copies of the

Footprint Pattern and cut the panels apart. You will

hand out these panels to your students one at a time.

Alternatively, you can copy each section onto a sepa-

rate transparency for use with an overheard projector.

2

Ask the class what they know about reading evidence

to reconstruct an event. Have they seen movies or TV

programs where detectives or scientists find traces of

incriminating evidence? Or where skilled hunters have

interpreted footprints to track a person or an animal?

3

Explain that paleontologists use evidence to make

deductions about what happened millions of years

ago, and that they are going to do the same thing.

Emphasize that they will get the evidence in stages

and at each stage they will be forming a hypothesis

about what happened.

4

Hand out or project panel 1 of the Footprint Pattern.

Ask students to examine the panel closely. Can they

tell anything about the size or nature of the animals

that made the footprints? How many were there?

Were all the tracks made at the same time? How might

the students figure that out if they were paleontologist

working in the field? What might have happened?

Encourage students to point out what evidence sup-

ports their idea. Help them distinguish between what

they see and what they infer. For example, they might

state that the animals were walking around, that they

met each other (or didn’t), that they were large or

small, etc.

  • 5 Hand out copies of panel 2 (or project it overhead), place it to the right of panel 1, and repeat the discus- sion. Now what do the students think happened? What parts of their previous deductions still hold water? What parts do they have to change? Elicit alternative hypotheses. For example: Someone will probably say the two animals fought, but there are other possibilities, such as a mother picking up her baby. Or perhaps the animals weren’t there at the same time, but there was some reason for both to circle around the same spot. Could there have been a source of food or water there?

  • 6 Finally, hand out or project panel 3, and place it to the right of panel 2. Now what do your students think might have happened? There is no one correct answer to any of these questions.

  • 7 Conclude by asking if the evidence supports any one of the students’ hypotheses in particular. What other evidence might shed light on the circumstances and the events that created these footprints? What could a paleontologist learn from this exercise? One lesson should be that it is important to gather as much evi- dence as possible, and to remember that there might be parts of the story that are not represented by the evidence.

Discussion Questions:

In what directions did the animals move?

Did they change their speed and direction? How can

you tell?

Were there trees or bushes that might have kept the

animals from seeing each other?

Do we know if they were there at the same time?

How might you know what the climate was like?

What conditions were necessary for the preservation

of the footprints?

See page 25 for details on how this activity meets

New York State Learning Standards.

FOSSILS 19

ACTIVITY 4

Footprint Forensics (continued)

SCIENCE AND • Take students outdoors on a damp day. Have them find animal tracks in
SCIENCE AND
Take students outdoors on a damp day. Have them find animal tracks in a
LITERACY
nearby park and try to interpret them.
EXTENSIONS:
Put large sheets of brown paper on the floor of the classroom. Have one or two
students sponge water on the soles of their shoes and then step on the paper,
leaving footprints. (You can use flour instead of water.) Then have them act out
a scene—walking along in opposite directions and stopping to greet each other,
for example, or just passing by. Have them think of other ways to interpret the
footprints. Extend the activity by having some students leave the room while
others act out a footprint story that the others interpret (out loud or in writing)
on their return to the room.
With pencil and paper, have students design their own footprint patterns. They
can use tracks of animals, birds, humans, marine creatures, and even leaf prints.
Have students share their footprint patterns with the class, or divide students
into teams and have them interpret each others’ stories out loud or in writing.

FOSSILS 20

Footprint Pattern
Footprint
Pattern
Panel 1
Panel 1
Panel 2
Panel 2
Panel 1 Panel 2 Panel 3

Panel 3

ACTIVITY 5

Create a 3-D Geologic Time Model

Grades 3–5 Related Specimens: All

The purpose of this activity is to engage students in think-

ing about how the various layers of the Earth in which

fossils are found help us map geologic time.

Materials:

Geologic Time poster, from the case

3x5 cards or similar-sized paper and pencils

Tape measure

What To Do:

1

Introduce the activity by showing students the

Geologic Time poster, if you have not already done so.

Review the concept of eras and periods of geologic

time. Point out how eras and periods are shown on

the poster in uneven layers. The layout of the layers on

the poster is analogous to the layers within the Earth.

The earliest eras and periods are at the bottom.

2

Have the students re-imagine the classroom as repre-

senting different areas of the Earth’s landscape. If the

ceiling represents the present-day level of the earth’s

surface, then the heights of the room’s features—

desks, chairs, tables, bookshelves, the floor—all repre-

sent different layers beneath the surface of the Earth.

As a class, figure out what era or period each surface

should represent. In the classroom landscape, what

level represents the Paleozoic era? What level repre-

sents the Cenozoic era? [Note: These layers do not

have to be uniform throughout the classroom—the

layers within the earth are not all the same thickness

everywhere. A desk in one corner may represent the

Paleozoic, while a desk across the room may represent

the Cenozoic.]

3

Point out how the Geologic Time poster shows the

major life forms present in each era and period. Hand

out the specimens from the case and have students

write a label for each specimen with its name, geologic

era and, if available, its geologic period. This infor-

mation can come from the Information About the

Specimens section of this guide (pages 7–10), the

Geologic Time poster, the books in the case, or other

library or Internet resources. If there are not enough

specimens for each student, you may also hand out

pictures of fossils or extinct creatures found in books

or on the Internet.

  • 4 Have students place the fossils and their labels on shelves, bookcases, tabletops, or other surfaces around the room, at the level of the classroom correspond- ing to their geologic era or period. Again, do not worry about the levels being uniform around the classroom—they are not uniform within the Earth either!

  • 5 As a class, sit back and study the results. Looking at the landscape of fossils the students have created, have them imagine they are paleontologists on a field expedition. They encounter different fossils everywhere and at different levels. They do not know the relation- ships among the fossils or how old any of them is. How might they go about finding answers to their questions?

Discussion Questions:

Do all specimens from the same period have to be at

the same height off the floor? What forces of nature

could cause them to be at different levels?

If you were a paleontologist, where would you look

for fossils, given that most of them are formed

underground?

Among the fossils in the case, are there more marine

organisms or more land organisms? Do you think

this is typical for all fossils? Why?

On the Geological Time poster, how does the pro-

portion of marine and land animals change as time

goes on? When do plants appear?

See page 25 for details on how this activity meets

New York State Learning Standards.

FOSSILS 22

ACTIVITY 6

Additional Activities and Curricular Connections

Science: Archaeological Dig Grades 15

Simulate an archaeological dig in the classroom. In a

shallow plastic container or cardboard box, have children

bury chicken bones that have been boiled clean in unset

plaster of Paris. (You can bury them in a single layer of

plaster, but if you would like to simulate the different

layers found in the earth, you can also create layers by

adding food coloring to different bowls of plaster. Pour

each layer in one at a time, and allow it to set at least

partially before adding the next.) When the plaster sets,

the students can use spoons, chopsticks, and other dull

instruments to “dig” them out. Remind them to be gen-

tle when digging around the bone itself, so as not to

damage their “fossil.”

Literacy: Dinosaur Word Puzzle Grades 45

Print out a copy of the dinosaur word puzzle at

www.sdnhm.org/kids/dinosaur/search/print.html,

and challenge your students to see who can finish first.

Science and Health: Edible Fossils All Grades

Who knew that eating fossils could be so much fun? See

www.uky.edu/KGS/education/ceph_celery.htm for

recipes for making celery cephalopods, ammonites in a

blanket, and prehistoric desserts.

Science: Research a Fossil Grades 35

Have students choose one of the geologic periods and

research its common plants and animals. Using the

Paleontology Portal (see

www.paleoportal.org/index.php), they can find out

where in the U.S. (or New York State) those plants and

animals lived. With this information, have them fill in a

map with those locations. Alternatively, they may draw

an imaginary scene of a landscape during the period

they selected, featuring all the plants and animals

belonging to it.

Literacy and Music: Create a Geological Rap Grades 45

Have students put the names of geologic eras and periods

into a rap song. Since many of the terms have rhyming

endings, this should not be difficult. The lyric structure of

a rap song is a series of couplets—two lines that end in a

rhyme, followed by two lines with a different rhyme, and

so on. Students can accompany themselves by making a

variety of percussive sounds with their bodies

(www.wiki.ehow.com/Be-a-Human-Beatbox tells you

how). If students would rather sing than rap, they can

write new words to go with a familiar tune (such as

“Dem Bones,” found at

www.niehs.nih.gov/kids/lyrics/bones.htm).

See page 25 for details on how these activities meet

New York State Learning Standards.

FOSSILS 23

RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS

Vocabulary Words

body fossil:

a part of the actual animal or plant, or even its whole.

Things like bones, teeth, shells, and leaves are con-

sidered body fossils. Body fossils also include casts

and molds that reveal the external and internal struc-

ture of the organism.

burrow:

a hole or holes in sedimentary rock that were dug by

an animal

cast:

in paleontology, a positive version of a mold, i.e.,

when a mold has been filled in with sedimentary

material and takes on the shape of the organism that

made the mold.

coprolites:

the fossil dung of an animal.

era:

a large unit of geologic time, each comprising mil-

lions of years and a number of sub-divisions called

periods. Some eras include the Pre-Cambrian,

Paleozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic.

extinction:

when all individuals of a species have died out, the

species is said to be extinct.

fossil:

the remains or traces of organisms, including micro-

scopic organisms, that lived at least 10,000 years ago.

fossilization:

the process by which a living organism, plant or ani-

mal, becomes a fossil.

gastrolith:

a smooth, rounded stone found with dinosaur

remains; long a mystery, such stones are now thought

to have been a digestive aid for dinosaurs who swal-

lowed them to help grind up food in their stomachs.

geologic time

the time in which the history of the Earth has

unfolded.

geologist:

a scientist who studies the entire history of the earth,

not just fossils.

index fossil:

a fossilized creature that lived only in one specific

time period can be used as an indicator (index) of

the date of the rock in which it is found.

matrix:

the rock surrounding a fossil, in which it is embedded.

mold:

in paleontology, a mold is the hollow shape left in

sedimentary rock by a decayed organism.

organism:

any living thing, such as a plant or animal.

molten:

in a hot, viscous (thick liquid) state.

paleontologist:

a scientist who studies the history of life through its

fossil remains.

period:

in geological time, a period is a unit of an era.

petrifaction:

the state of being petrified, that is, the replacement

of organic matter by silica over a long period of time,

such that the original organism has become rock.

replacement fossil:

a fossil created when inorganic minerals gradually

replace the original organic material, at a molecular

level, so that the structure and form of the organ-

ism are retained.

sedimentary rock:

layered rock formed by sequential deposits by water,

wind, or ice of small rocks or organic matter, solidi-

fied by pressure, over a long period of time.

trace fossil:

includes things like footprints, burrows, and fossilized

dung, that trace the movements or activity of an

organism. A single animal can make thousands and

thousands of traces in its lifetime, but it will only

leave behind one body when it dies. Because of

this, trace fossils are much more common than

body fossils.

track:

an impression, or trace, made by a single foot.

trail:

an impression, or trace, made by an animal without

legs.

FOSSILS 24

RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS

Correlations with New York State Learning Standards

 

The activities included in this guide meet the following New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators for elementary students (K–5):

 

New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators (Elementary Level)

Activity

 

Standard Area

Standard #

Subject

Letter

Students will

1

2

3

4

5

6

Arts

  • 1 Music

 

a

Create short pieces consisting of sounds from a variety of traditional, electronic, and nontraditional sound sources

         

Arts

  • 1 Visual Arts

   

Experiment and create art works, in a variety of mediums (drawing, painting, sculpture, ceramics, printmaking, video, and computer graphics), based on a range of individual and collective experiences

   

••

   

English

  • 1 Listening &

   

Gather and interpret information from children's

     

••

 

Language

Reading

reference books, magazines, textbooks, electronic

Arts

bulletin boards, audio and media presentations, oral interviews, and from such forms as charts, graphs, maps, and diagrams

ELA

  • 1 Listening &

Reading

 

Ask specific questions to clarify and extend meaning

     

••••••

   

ELA

  • 1 Speaking &

Writing

 

Present information clearly in a variety of oral and written forms such as summaries, paraphrases, brief reports, stories, posters, and charts

 

••••

     

ELA

  • 1 Speaking &

Writing

 

Use details, examples, anecdotes, or personal experie- nces to explain or clarify information

     

••••••

   

ELA

  • 1 Speaking &

Writing

 

Observe basic writing conventions, such as correct spelling, punctuation, and capitalization, as well as sentence and paragraph structures appropriate to written forms

 

••••

     

ELA

  • 2 Speaking &

Writing

 

Create their own stories, poems, and songs using the elements of the literature they have read and appro- priate vocabulary

   

••

   

ELA

  • 2 Speaking &

Writing

 

Observe the conventions of grammar and usage, spelling, and punctuation

 

••••

     

ELA

  • 4 Speaking &

Writing

 

Listen attentively and recognize when it is appropri- ate for them to speak

     

••••••

   

ELA

  • 4 Speaking &

Writing

 

Take turns speaking and respond to other ideas in conversations on familiar topics

     

••••••

   

Math,

  • 1 Scientific

   

Ask "why" questions in attempts to seek greater under-

     

•••••

   

Science, &

Inquiry

standing concerning objects and events they have

Technology

observed and heard about

MST

  • 1 Scientific

Inquiry

 

Question the explanations they hear from others and read about, seeking clarification and comparing them with their own observations and understandings

     

••••••

   

MST

  • 1 Scientific

Inquiry

 

Develop relationships among observations to con- struct descriptions of objects and events and to form their own tentative explanations of what they have observed

     

•••••

   

MST

  • 1 Scientific

Inquiry

 

Carry out their plans for exploring phenomena through direct observation and through the use of simple instruments that permit measurements of quantities (e.g., length, mass, volume, temperature, and time)

 

••

   

••

 

FOSSILS 25

RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS

Correlations with New York State Learning Standards

 

The activities included in this guide meet the following New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators for elementary students (K–5):

 

New York State Learning Standard Performance Indicators (Elementary Level)

Activity

 

Standard Area

Standard #

Subject

Letter

Students will

1

2

3

4

5

6

MST

  • 1 Scientific

Inquiry

 

Organize observations and measurements of objects and events through classification and the preparation of simple charts and tables

 

       

MST

  • 1 Scientific

Inquiry

 

Share their findings with others and actively seek their interpretations and ideas

     

•••••

   
   

Physical

 

Describe the relationships among air, water, and land

     

••••

   

Setting

on Earth

MST

  • 4 Physical

Setting

 

Observe and describe properties of materials using appropriate tools

 

       
   

Physical

 

Describe chemical and physical changes, including

     

•••

   

MST

  • 4 Setting

changes in states of matter

MST

  • 6 Models

   

Analyze, construct, and operate models in order to discover attributes of the real thing

       

MST

  • 6 Models

   

Discover that a model of something is different from the real thing but can be used to study the real thing

       

MST

  • 7 Strategies

   

Work effectively-Contributing to the work of a brain- storming group, laboratory partnership, cooperative learning group, or project team; planning procedures; identifying and managing responsibilities of team members; and staying on task, whether working alone or as part of a group

 

••••••

       

FOSSILS 26

RESOURCES AND REFERENCE MATERIALS

Corresponding Field Trips

Bibliography and Web Resources

In addition to the organizations below, look for

special National Earth Science Week activities held

annually in October.

American Museum of Natural History

79th and Central Park West, Manhattan

(212) 769-5200

The AMNH has the world’s most spectacular collec-

tion of fossils. Several corresponding websites for

educators offer downloadable guides to the galleries

and activities to go along with your visit:

www.amnh.org/education/resources/rfl.php?set=

b&topic_id=5&subtopic_id=80

Fossil Walking Tour

Many buildings in the city are made of limestone, a

sedimentary rock, or marble, a metamorphic rock.

Lincoln Center, to name a prominent example, is

made of limestone and fossils are abundant in the

buildings. Scout out some local locations (perhaps

even your own school building has fossils in it) and

take your students on a walking tour to find the fos-

sils. Once the students get the hang of looking for

them, there’s no end to where they can use this skill.

The Brooklyn Children’s Museum also offers programs

on a variety of natural history topics. For a listing of

programs currently available, please see our website

at www.brooklynkids.org, or contact the Scheduling

Assistant at 718-735-4400, extension 118.

Corresponding Field Trips Bibliography and Web Resources In addition to the organizations below, look for special

The following books and websites may help you to

enrich your experience with the objects in the case.

Moss, Jeff. Bone Poems. New York, New York:

Workman Publishing, 1997.

Press, Judy. The Kids' Natural History Book:

Making Dinos, Fossils, Mammoths & More!

Charlotte, Vermont: Williamson Publishing

Company, 2000.

Rhodes, Frank H.T. and Paul R. Shaffer, Herbert S. Zim, and Raymond Perlman. Fossils,

A Golden Guide. New York, New York: St. Martin’s

Press, 2001.

Ward, David. Fossils (Smithsonian Handbooks).

New York, New York: DK Adult, 2002.

The Paleontology Portal:

Good for looking up fossils by period or type of

organism; interactive map showing life in the U.S. in

geologic time.

www.paleoportal.org/index.php

Petrified Forest National Park Triassic World:

Reading and pictures for kids about what lived in the

Triassic period.

www.nps.gov/pefo/triassicweb.htm

Petrified Forest National Park Aetosaur Virtual Dig:

A slide show illustrating a paleontologist digging up

an aetosaur.

www.nps.gov/pefo/vtour/aetodig/aetostart.htm

San Diego Natural History Museum Field Guide to Fossils:

Find out more about individual fossils.

www.sdnhm.org/fieldguide/fossils/index.html

Indianapolis Children’s Museum Dinosphere:

Activities for kids, guides for teachers.

www.childrensmuseum.org/dinosphere/index.html

University of California, Berkeley:

Information and activities about fossils.

www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/forsec/Learning.html

Museum Victoria:

Information about dinosaurs.

www.museum.vic.gov.au/dinosaurs

The Natural History Museum, London:

Great information and activities on dinosaurs

www.internt.nhm.ac.uk/jdsml/nature-

online/dino-directory/about-teachers.dsml

FOSSILS 27

Acknowledgments

Beth Alberty

Chrisy Ledakis

Tim Hayduk

Nobue Hirabayashi

Whitney Thompson

Portable Collections Series Coordinator

Melissa Husby

Special Thanks

Daniel Dixon The Teachers of the New York City Department of Education

Funding

The revision of this Portable Collections Program caset guide is made possible by a Learning Opportunities Grant from the Institute for Museum and Library Services.

■■■

© 2006

Brooklyn Children’s Museum 145 Brooklyn Avenue Brooklyn, New York 11213 718-735-4400 ext. 170 www.brooklynkids.org

For information about renting this or other Portable Collections Program cases, please contact the Scheduling Assistant at 718-735-4400 ext. 118.