How Fossils Form Part 2

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Objective

SWBAT compare and identify fossils and explain how fossils are formed.

Big Idea

In this lesson, students model the process of fossilization by making fossils using small toy figures and melted chocolate

Engage

5 minutes

To begin this lesson, I use this website to show a quick animation of how fossils form. 

http://www.classzone.com/books/earth_science/terc/content/visualizations/es2901/es2901page01.cfm?chapter_no=29

After the animation, I review the information from the chocolate fondue Part 1 lesson. I activate students prior knowledge by reviewing what we did in Part 1 of the lesson. 

Explain/Elaborate/Evaluate

45 minutes

Next, using the document camera, I use a dull knife to carefully cut the chocolate in half, along a plane that creates the best looking fossil.  I carefully pull the toy out of the chocolate, preserving the fossil as much as possible.  Next, I ask students several questions like the following:

Did the toy leave a perfectly shaped fossil? If not, why not?

What similar problems might engineers have when designing instruments to help paleontologist locate fossils?

Pretend you never saw the toy. What are the physical properties of your fossil? What might your fossil tell you about how the organism lived?

How can what we learn from the past impact what we do today?

For the remaining part of the lesson, students work to remove their toy or object from their chocolate, leaving the fossil in tact. I encourage students to work carefully in order to remove the toy and see their fossil imprint.  

Click on these videos to see students carefully cutting their chocolate in order to find a fossil. student discovering imprint and finding fossils

 

You can see a lego imprint in this chocolate fossil.

 

 After students have observed their fossils, they make a sketch of their fossil in their science notebooks.  Then, they get to eat the chocolate! 

 As students eat, I show this video clip beginning at 1:58.  Students see and hear about fossils as a window of the past.