Reflection: High Expectations Fossils Document Changes To Ecosystems - Section 2: Activity


"Can we present first?"  "Will you please make this a test grade?"  "Mrs. K, come look at what I found."  "My daughter is so excited by what she found out putting together that project that she cannot wait to present."  All of these things were said to me today about this lesson.  I am not going to lie - I am surprised by how popular this turned out to be because I was looking at this just as a research project that forced the students to make and defend an argument, but I guess when you add dinosaurs into the mix everything gets more interesting!  

There are so many skills that students come to learn over the course of this lesson as they complete their project: analyzing pictures, interpreting data, researching skills, maximizing a visual aid, creating clear and specific claims, defending arguments with evidence, and on top of that all of the ways that ecosystems can change over time and how scientists can come to those conclusions.

Make sure that you invest the time to get the most out of student learning.  Model what you want students to do that gets them to the next level - of presentations, of supporting arguments, of working with groups - there is so much potential.  Take advantage of the natural curiosity that students have and teach them how to use evidence to support their thinking.  Push students to become thinkers and get them beyond just looking for the "right answer" to being willing to develop their own answers that they can support and explain with clarity.

  Getting The Most Out Of The Students
  High Expectations: Getting The Most Out Of The Students
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Fossils Document Changes To Ecosystems

Unit 6: Evidence of Common Ancestry
Lesson 7 of 12

Objective: SWBAT use fossil evidence as support to describe changes to the ecosystem of a particular region of the US.

Big Idea: Students research some fossil rich areas to determine how the ecosystem in that area has evolved.

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