Learning About The Past Through Fossils
Fossils are fundamental to discovering information about the past inhabitants of Earth over the course of its 4.5 billion year history. Students began the fossils lesson by investigating what fossils are and how they form. We learned that scientists who study fossils are called paleontologists, and that dinosaurs are an example of something that a paleontologist studies.
To continue with the exploration of the past, students were then turned into paleontologists! They were able to excavate their own dinosaur bone fossils from a rock using tools and techniques similar to those employed by paleontologists and reassemble their dinosaur skeletons. Some classes had an opportunity to reconstruct a mystery animal skeleton from the Jurassic period. Each student also made a cast of an object of their choice, similar to how a paleontologist might make a cast of a fragile fossil to study. This activity was quite popular, and for any students who want to continue their paleontological explorations at home, we suggest checking out the follow-up activity accompanying this post for instructions on how to make casts. Be warned: this activity is fun, but can get messy!