Welcome to the
WORLD of FOSSILS
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Table of contents
1. What is a fossil?
2. GPS
3. Fossil Websites
4. Activity One
5. Activity Two
6. Activity Three
7. Software Reviews


What is a fossil? 
When most people think of fossils they think of dinosaurs. It is true that we would not know about the past existence of dinosaurs if it were not for fossils. A fossil is ANY remnant of a plant or animal that has been preserved in the earth’s crust from a past geologic or prehistoric time. This includes any trace of past life. This evidence of past life is most commonly found as bones or teeth, but can also be imprints such as footprints. There are all kinds of fossils of many different plants and animals. Any living thing could potentially one day become a fossil.


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      cicadafossil  footprint   fernfoss        
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Third Grade Georgia Performance Standard S3E2:

 Students will investigate fossils as evidence of organisms that lived long ago.

 S3E2a: Investigate fossils by viewing authentic fossils or models of fossils or view information resources about fossils as evidence of organisms that lived long ago.

 S3E2: Describe how a fossil is formed.


Cool Fossil Websites:
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Introductory information about fossils.
Learn when and where fossils were formed.
Play a game to check your knowledge!
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Discovering Fossils
floatingfossil
Click on the picture to see how a fossil forms.
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Go here to learn about the Do's and Don'ts
about fossil collecting.  Take a look at
some fossils you might be able to find yourself!
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Making Fossils
fossilhorse
Click "open" to learn more about how a
once living organism becomes a fossil.
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Visit the Fossil Gallery at
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Look at 30 different fossil pictures!
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Fossil Activities
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Learning About Fossils

In this activity we are going to learn some basics about fossils. We are going to find out when and how they formed. We are going to also learn about Paleontology and Paleontologists.

PLO: Students will learn the meaning of “Paleontology” and what a Paleontologist does. They will investigate fossils.

Materials needed:
Computer with internet access
Web sites: http://library.thinkquest.org/J002507/index.html
http://ology.amnh.org/ologist/norell/more_list.html
Paper and pencil
Microsoft Word program (optional)

Paleontology is the study of ancient or past life. A paleontologist is a scientist who studies paleontology, mostly by studying fossils. "Onto-" means existence, "-logy" is the study of something; therefore "Ontology" is the study of existence. "-ist" at the end means a person who is involved in the field.

First you are going to visit a website and read some information about different kinds of fossils. When you get to the site I want you to click on each link on the left side of the page EXCEPT “time line”. Start with “Fun Facts” and look at them in order until you get to “quiz” Remember to skip “time line”. After reading the information on each page you can click “home” at the bottom and it will take you back so you can click on the next information page. After you have read all the information here I would like you to take the quiz. Write your answers on a piece of paper. DO NOT answer questions 4, 5 and 6. These relate to the time line page that you did not read. When you have written your answers click on “answers at the bottom of the quiz page to check your answers. Start by clicking here.

Next, we are going to “chat” with a real Paleontologist named Mark Norell. When you go to the website you will see a list of questions. Read through all of the questions and click on 5 of the most interesting ones to find the answers. Click here to begin.

Finally, we are gong to write a letter to Mark. In the first part of the letter I want you to tell him what you have learned so far about fossils and paleontology. In the second part of the letter I want you to ask him questions about things you still want to know. You can use the Microsoft Word program or paper and pencil.

(Letters will not be mailed to Mark. After all activities are completed students will look at the questions they asked and see if they have learned the answers. If they were not answered they will use to internet to find the answers.)

Product: The letter that was written to Mark (the Paleontoligist) will serve as the product for this activity. The teacher will have an idea of what the child knows already and at the end of all activities the student should be able to answer most of his/her questions in the letter.


Finding Fossils

In this activity students will learn how fossils are formed and where they are found.

PLO: Students will draw a picture of a fossil underground using the paint program.

Materials Needed:
Computer with internet access
Web sites:
http://www.discoveringfossils.co.uk/Whatisafossil.htm
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/dinosaurs/making_fossils/
http://www.bbc.co.uk/sn/prehistoric_life/dinosaurs/burying_bodies/
http://library.thinkquest.org/J002743/5kcmgames.html
Microsoft paint program

Procedures: 

First, click here to read about how a fossil is formed.

Then click here and do the activity. Click on the word “open” on the picture to see how and where fossils are formed.
Next click here to find out where a dead animal must be buried in order for it to be turned into a fossil.

Next, click here to find out some places where you might find fossils.  Click on “Fun and Games” then just for fun try the dinosaur jokes. Next, click on fossil hunter—you are going to see where fossils are found. Use your knowledge about where fossils are found and the tools that are used to get to them.

Finally, using the paint program, draw a picture of a fossil underground. Be sure to think about how a fossil is formed. Also think about the type of clay, rock, etc. your fossil is in. Use the text box in the paint program to write what living thing your fossil once was, what type of rock, soil, etc. it is in and where I might find this fossil (near the ocean, a mountain, etc.)

The product is the picture that the student creates.



 
  Buried Bones

PLO – Students will simulate a fossil dig and then reflect on the dig by answering questions.

The following materials are needed for each pair of students:

  • 2 empty containers that can be thrown away after you are done
  • 1 small box of plaster of Paris (available at hardware stores)
  • about 4-6 chicken bones, all meat removed (can also use small sticks or small plastic toys)
  • measuring cup (1 cup)
  • 2 disposable plastic spoons
  • 2 disposable bowls for mixing (made of thick paper or plastic)
  • old newspaper (to protect the surface you'll be working on)  
  • 2 metal spoons  
  • lotion or petroleum jelly
  • paper and pencil
  • web page with directions

 Procedures  

1. Click here and read about what kind of rocks fossils are usually found in. Then click your “back” button.

2. Click here and read about the do's and don'ts of fossil hunting. Then click the "back" button.

3. Click here to see what kinds of fossils you might find on your fossil hunt. Then click the "back" button.


4. Next, choose a partner to work with. (Teacher may assign partners or have students work individually)

Link to directions   Read all directions before beginning.  It may be better to work over several days in 15-20 minute increments.

When finished with the “excavation” answer these questions about your fossil dig.

What was surprising about excavating the bones?

What strategies did you find worked well for removing the plaster?

How would you have worked differently if you had no idea what was buried inside?

What did you learn about finding "fossils"?

Answers will be shared with the class.


Product:  Students experienced what it might be like to hunt for real fossils. They also will write answers to the refelctive questions and then discuss them with the class.



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           lizard     insect    jelly
  Dinosaur        Insect in Amber        Jellyfish
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Software Reviews
word
Microsoft Word 2003
Published by Microsoft
* This software can be used to write reports about fossils. It can also be used to write professional letters.
* This is an excellent word processing program. It has many templates for various applications such as letter writing and resumes. It has an automatic spell and grammar checker. It is fairly easy to use. 

*  It would be helpful if the person using it has some keyboarding experience.

paint
Microsoft Paint
Published by Microsoft
* This software program can be used to draw pictures about the topic.
* This is a very good program that can be used to draw electronically. Pictures can be drawn and then printed. Pictures can be easily saved and re-opened to work on at a later time.  Mess-free!! No cleanup of paint, markers, or paper.       
* Students need a steady hand and a bit of patience to use this program. A few mistakes will be made as students learn to use this program. They will need plenty of practice time.

game
Dinosaur Hunter
Published by DK Multimedia
* This is a program about dinosaurs. It has a section where you can dig up fossils and reassemble dinosaurs.
 * This game has loads of 3-D pictures and interactive consoles. Kids can test their knowledge with quizes.
 
* The only problem with this CD-ROM is that kids will not want to turn it off!

MAGIC
The Magic School Bus Explores in the Age of Dinosaurs
Published by Microsoft
*This software game helps kids learn about prehistoric dinosaurs. There is an acitvity that deal specifically with fossils.
 * This program has over 12 games and activities like Morp-a-saurus, Fossil Finder, and Dino Madness. These are different each time kids play. With so many activities that are differnt each time, this programs should never become boring!
* This product has been discontinued by the manufacturer but you can find it online at sites that sell used software like amazon.con and ebay. 
dinasaurfinder I Can Be a Dinosaur Finder
Published by MacMillan Digital Publishing
* This software lets kids feel like they are on a real dinosaur hunt. They dig for bones (fossils).\
* This CD-ROM game is packed with hours of fun entertainment. It teaches children what it is like to be a real Palentologist. They will learn about dinosaurs, fossils, prehistoric animals and artifacts. They will go to ralistic dig sites and use realistic tools to dig with.
*
Problems that might be found with this software are that there are only 6 dig sites. There are different activites however that go with each site. It is also hard to find. Look for it used in sites such as amazon and ebay.





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Click Here
Resources for Students
and Parents

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                Global Diversity Page

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Electronic Reading File

readgirl
Live Text
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