What can we learn from the Bear-Dog?

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Students will read about what scientists learn about ancient mammals from their fossils.

Big Idea

Analysis of fossils gives information about ancient climate, animal behavior, and animal characteristics.


45 minutes

I explain to students that our focus today will be to think about what scientists can learn from fossils.  I ask them to think and write for 5 minutes in response to this prompt:

What can scientists learn about animals from their fossils?

Then I show them this short video clip to provide them with a specific example:


I project these guiding questions (or write them on the board) and read them with the students.  I ask them to listen and look for details related to these questions as they watch the video and read the passage.

We read this Bear Dogs Reading Passagee together and I ask them to look and listen specifically for details about the bear dog that can be learned from the fossils, and how did this occur?   Then they watch this video clip about the bear dog (short-faced bear).

At the close of this lesson, I ask students to think of two ideas they can share with someone at home tonight about what scientists can learn from fossils.  They think silently and then state their response to a partner.