Reflection: Lesson Planning Fossils of the United States - Explore by State and Time Period - Section 1: Explore - Finding Fossils by State


There is a learning curve involved in introducing students to this site and it is for this reason that this lesson usually takes several days.  Students need to read and correctly use scientific terms to navigate the website and then further analysis is required in the note-taking process.  The students are fully engaged and if the process takes 3 science periods instead of one, then that is 3 science periods well spent as they learn to navigate a real-world tool.  Elementary students know when material has been oversimplified for them and are up to the challenge inherent in using a real-world support.  I am vigilant about ensuring that I provide extra support for second language learners so that they don't get snared in above-level vocabulary.  I teach them that they can overlook the names of the specific geologic sub-eras, the scientific names of the animals, and most especially, the particular rock formations in which the fossils are found.  Interestingly, you will notice in the final presentation that many students still included this information, even though I insisted that if they used it they needed to be able to also explain it.  They enjoyed looking at the geology charts and the idea that particular time periods have within them many different rock formations that also have their own names that identify both their location and characteristics.  Finally,  I have found that they like the scientific names once the classification system has been explained.

  Using Online Resources
  Lesson Planning: Using Online Resources
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Fossils of the United States - Explore by State and Time Period

Unit 4: Fossil Evidence
Lesson 5 of 8

Objective: Students will use a database to collect examples of fossils that can be found in the state they chose to research. They will record the type, the era, and start to draw conclusions about possible environments.

Big Idea: Learning what fossils can be found in different states gives us information about the past environment.

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4 teachers like this lesson
Science, fossils
  60 minutes
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