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We've all heard about them. We have never seen one and children cannot understand how we know so much about them. What are they? They are the biggest, the best, and the most exciting creatures that ever roamed this Earth. What are they, you ask? Just watch this exciting video and your students will get a better understanding of how we know so much about our friends, the Dinosaurs. Tell the students that they are going to learn how to make fossils in two different ways, with simple techniques. It's something that anyone can have fun with and the students can gain greater knowledge of the process of time and conditions that the Earth went through to form our fossil friends.
ITV Series
"3-2-1 CLASSROOM CONTACT #14: Fossils: Remains To Be Seen"
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Pre-Viewing Activity (per group):

For fossil activity #1:

For fossil activity #2 Mix and Match:

For fossil Activity #3:
Pre-Viewing Activities
Look around the room for those students with patterns on their clothing. Observe if there are any definite repeats to reinforce that patterns are ways for paleontologists to identify fossils.

Distribute Attribute Blocks to the student groups. Have the students classify blocks by shapes, colors or sizes. Make the patterns with the Attribute Blocks. Note that patterns are ways to identify fossils.

Have the bag of pasta with the assorted shapes available. The students should take a handful from the bag. Arrange in a pattern. Emphasize that repetition in a pattern are ways to identify fossils.
Focus Viewing

To give the students a specific responsibility while viewing the video so that they can tell what a fossil is. The students should listen and be able to identify two ways to make a fossil.

Viewing Activities
START the video.
PAUSE immediately after the footprints appear as the narrator says "fossils." Ask the students, "What can you tell me about fossils?" This discussion will provoke a discussion about prior knowledge.

RESUME the video.
PAUSE when the child walks along a beach and finds a skeleton of a head. Ask the students, "What is needed to form a fossil? (time and the remains of plants and animals) How many years went by? What changes occurred on the Earth?" Emphasize layers that came and went.

RESUME the video.
PAUSE when Stephanie puts box aside. Ask the students, "What do you think macaroni and jelly beans represent? When the students are fossil hunting, will the patterns in the rock or the ground help identify a fossil?" Say, "We will see what happens to this mixture as we do the below Activity #1."

Activity #1
Give each student 1/2 pint milk containers. Allow the students to select different pasta shapes and put them into containers. Pour the plaster of paris into a carton 3/4's full. Have the students stir this mixture and set it aside to harden just like Stephanie's.

RESUME the video.
FAST FORWARD to when Stephanie takes off one shoe.

PAUSE when Stephanie says, "I'll be back...." Ask the students, "What did Stephanie's foot prints represent? Did they have a pattern? What will happen if many years pass? Will the prints turn into stone if exposed to the elements?" Proceed to Activity #2 below.

Activity #2
Get a dishpan and fill 1/2 with sand. Water it enough to make the sand wet so that it will hold an imprint. With assorted objects, pencils, pasta, chicken bones, spoons, make an imprint. The students should observe an imprint item made. They should also close their eyes, and the teacher can make an imprint. The students should guess what item made the imprint or pattern in the sand. Reinforce the concept that many years pass and an imprint would turn into stone by the elements created by the weather, etc.
FAST FORWARD the video to when Stephanie is back.

PAUSE the video when she is finished showing the plaster-of-paris fossil. Ask the students, "Did our fossil come out like that?" Have the students break their fossil and observe pattern in the plaster of paris.

RESUME the video.

STOP the video after Stephanie looks at the imprint of bare feet, boots, and umbrella.
Post-Viewing Activities
Supply a ball of clay per student that will make a slab about 10 inches in diameter. Place a large pasta shell to the left side of the slab to represent the head of a dinosaur. Place six spirals across the top of the slab to represent the vertebrae, 14 elbows below the spirals to represent the ribs and legs, and one small shell to represent each foot. You should have made a representation of a dinosaur with your pasta shells.
Action Plan
Visit the Museum of Natural History in NYC and explore their Dinosaur Exhibit.

Visit the Trenton, New Jersey Museum for Dinosaur exhibit.

Visit a fossil bed in the locality.

Invite a graduate student from a local college who has a background in fossil
Language Arts:
Use for instructional purposes, Danny and the Dinosaur, by Syd
Hoff. Harper and Row.
Read a Loud: Patrick's Dinosaurs, by Carol Carrick. Houghton Miffin Co. The
Littlest Dinosaurs, by Bernard Most. Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.

Using Attribute Blocks, have the students tally how many of each
size, shape, and color we started with before our activities. Graph the results
of the tallies.

Social Studies:
Use the globe or the map to find Montana, Colorado, and Utah
where most of the Dinosaur fossils have been located.

Master Teachers:Patricia McFall and Linda Madison

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