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Grades 2-4


In this lesson students will become familiar with fossils. Through video, they will observe how fossils are found by paleontologists. Students will also compare the time when dinosaurs lived to when humans came to Earth.
ITV Series
Bill Nye: The Science Guy, Dinosaurs
Learning Objectives
Students will be able to:
Pre-Viewing Activities
Teacher: Does anyone know what the word fossil means? (List responses on the board.) In Latin, fossil means "something that has been dug up." Becoming a fossil is not an easy thing. An animal or a plant has to die and then it has to get buried by erosion or rain falls down and washes dirt down and covers it.
Focus Viewing
Teacher: We're going to watch a segment of video about fossils from Maiasaura dinosaurs. I want you to watch for three things. (Write the three times on the board.)
1. How much did the Maiasauras weigh?
2. How did they keep their eggs warm?
3. How many eggs did they lay at a time?

I want you to write the three answers down on a piece of scratch paper.

Viewing Activities
CUE video to where Bill Nye says "This is a piece of a backbone from a Maiasaura. BEGIN video. PAUSE #1 - Pause at segment when Bill Nye says, "Maisasuras always ate their vegetables." Review the answers to the three questions. Teacher: Dinosaurs and humans did not live on Earth at the same time. Dinosaurs lived 65 million years ago. In the video, a young girl gives us an idea of just how long ago that was. After viewing this, you should be able to tell me where the first living things appeared. BEGIN video. (FAST FORWARD to young girl saying, "Just to five us scientist an idea of how much time that is, picture this clock as a clock of time.") PAUSE #2 - Pause where girl says, "Science is cool!!" Discuss where the first living things appeared. Review what the girl did with a hand held Judy clock. have a worksheet with 24 clocks on it representing every hour in a day. As a group, make on the clocks when the Earth began to form, when the first living things appeared, when dinosaurs arrived, and when humans existed on Earth. This will help students compare the time spans. Teacher: Who can tell me what the scientists are called that explores fossils? They are called paleontologist. We will be listening to a paleontologist tell us about her job. You need to find out why their jobs are important to us today even though dinosaurs lived so long ago. RESUME video. (fast forward to the picture that says, "Way Cool Scientist." PAUSE #3 - Pause when picture returns to "Way Cool Scientist." Teacher: Why is it important to learn about dinosaurs? Right. They may help us learn more about our ecosystem and ways to improve it. We have learned why fossils are important to us. Let's make our own fossils.
Post-Viewing Activities
Students will make their own fossils.
1. Fill milk cartons with 2 cups of sand.
2. Mix 100 ml of slat with 250 ml of water and stir.
3. Bury "bone" sponges in sand.
4. Pour water mixture over sand.
5. Let set in window for 3-5 days.
6. Dig for the bone. (The salt crystals form in the holes of the sponge making it stiff and hard like a fossil.)
Action Plan
Take a field trip to University of Kansas Museum of Natural history in Lawrence, Kansas. There are many fossil exhibits to view.

Another filed trip to take is to Line Creek Archeological Museum. Students participate in a simulated archeological dig.

Find a person in the community that is interested in fossils to visit you classroom.

Have students find information about paleontologists and fossils on the Internet. Compile all information and make a newsletter about their discoveries for parents.
Science and Art: With butcher paper and paint, have students walk, run, hop, skip, walk on hands and feet with paint. Notice how different kinds of movements. Compare that to how different dinosaurs moved.

Music: Learn music video. "Mr. Dino" from Bill Nye tape and perform it for another class.

Language Arts: Students pretend they are paleontologist. The will write a story that begins, "One day, as I was digging for fossils, I dug up a __________________! Here's what happened!"

Master Teachers: Jeff and Kristy Parks

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