Vernier Science Education - June  2024


Forums / Life Science / Fossils, Evolution, and more

Life Science

Fossils, Evolution, and more

Author Post
Timothy Selgas Timothy Selgas 480 Points

I am looking for a way to captivate my 7th graders (urban school) with something on Fossils. The entire Chapter is Evolution of Living Things. The HOLT SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY book is good but I need more. I need some activities and labs to keep them moving. Thanks! Tim

Michele Bloomquist Michele Bloomquist 2395 Points

Try introducing the idea of tracking fossil dates with radioisotopes and half-life activity. I used something with Otzi the Iceman called "Dating the Iceman." Students will quickly catch onto the mathematics of half life isotopes and how we date fossils. Also bringing up the point about mineralization being more accurate than superpostion of layers seems to bring out a concept they can "get." I have entertained the thought of making a small replica fossil from chicken bones or "mummy" from wrapped cloth. Then let them find the glow in the dark marks or "isotopes" (using craft paints). They might chart and graph the different grams of isotopes (requires a key -example green= 10 grams of C14) over several half lives in years ago and estimate the age of the ancestral remains.

Patty McGinnis Patricia McGinnis 25635 Points

The lab called the Great Fossil Find that looks interesting. Calculating Dinosaur Speed is also fun (you can something similar by having students be the 'dinosaurs').

Arleen Bourcier Arleen Bourcier 1570 Points

I'm always thinking about the Kindergarten grade level and maybe a fossil activity that gives the experience of digging up fossils would be fun. I know there are fossil kits sold in the store but those are pricey. It may be possible to create your own fossil finding actvity using individual containers or even a small area on school grounds that could be used.

Pamela Auburn Pamela Auburn 68625 Points

There is a nice compilation of hand on fossil activities here Learning About Fossils Through Hands-On Science and Literacy Patty, Thanks for the links above. Great!

Rochelle Tamiya Rochelle Tamiya 4095 Points

Thank you for creating this thread! I too am a 7th grade Life Science teacher in similar type of school district. We will be starting our Evolution/Heredity/Genetics Unit in the 3rd quarter. Just an "artsy" idea...students LOVE making things and parents love getting things that their child has made. Although these are 7th grade students, I still believe that they enjoy the same activities as elementary school students, thus, I enjoy doing a lot of arts and crafts type activities that help to reinforce, engage or build on science concepts. I have had a great idea shared with me and will be using this in class this year...they make their own fossil imprints. Students bring in items (shells, leaves, branches, bones, etc..) and they do paper weights using plaster of paris to create these but also relevant. Have fun and thank you again for creating this thread! I will be following it for ideas as well!

Sherilynn Chang Sherilynn Chang 1220 Points

I'm so glad that I hopped on this thread! I am about to launch a unit on fossils and wanted to see all the different lessons and activities out there. I teach fourth grade in Hawaii and have created a livebinder of fossil sites. You can see it here and the access key is 'dino'

I even added the links from the previous responses! The Xenosmilus sounds a lot like The Great Fossil Find. The NOAA whales unit plan is based off of Hawaii's standards for fourth grade so those of you who teach in Hawaii, it's a great resource. There are four lessons within the unit and it is plotted out for you from beginning to end with a teacher's guide and background information. Not to mention a neat field trip could be whale-watching to tie it all together!

Carolyn Mohr Carolyn Mohr 92316 Points

Hi Tim,
If you are covering the geologic time periods, this lesson has lots of great ideas:
Science Sampler: Fossil Patterns in Time


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