Fossils unit study

Yesterday I posted my list of resources and activities for a unit on the geologic time scale.  Today I am posting my list of ideas for studying fossils with my fourth grader.  

Here is the link to the guide as it appears in my Google Docs:

Or, you can read on below:



1) Watch the Fossils video on BrainPop.  (approximately 3.5 minutes)  

(We pay $6.99/month to use BrainPop videos on our iPad.  You can also subscribe to the web version.) 


2) Read pages 14-17 of The Usborne Encyclopedia of World History.


3) Watch the Bill Nye video on fossils:


4) Read the book Under Ohio: The Story of Ohio’s Rocks and Fossils.  Pick one of the fossils listed in the book and research it.  Write a paragraph about your chosen fossil and draw a picture of it.  (The DK Eyewitness Fossil book might be a good place to start.)


5) Read pages 114-123 of Basher’s Rocks and MInerals: A Gem of a Book.  Fold a sheet of paper into four squares.  In each square draw a picture or write a description of each of the four types of fossils.


6) Make your own fossil. (Supplies: a sponge, water, magnesium sulfate, and sand plus a container)


7) Follow the link to play a create-a-fossil game:


8) Watch this video on petrified wood and petrified forests:  (Approximately 3.5 minutes)


9) Read the following blog entry about petrified wood and mineral colors:  Using the information on the blog, draw a colorful picture of some petrified wood and label the bands with what minerals might have been present in the environment around the tree as it permineralized.  


10) Here is a video about the Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona:  (Approximately 5 minutes long)


11) Read about coprolite:


12) Read the book Jurassic Poop by Jacob Berkowitz.


13) Complete the Who Dung It? activity that you can find described in this PDF:


14) Watch this How It’s Made video on how replica fossils are made:  

The video you are looking for is from season 4, episode 3. (Currently free streaming with Amazon Prime)


15) Read pages 62-63 of the DK Eyewitness Fossil book.  Using things you can find around the house, start putting together your own fossil hunting kit.


16) Read pages 16-17 of the DK Eyewitness Fossil book.   These pages talk specifically about fossil folklore.  If you are feeling particularly creative, you can write a little story about someone who finds a fossil that they believe is “good” or “bad” luck.


17) This link leads to tons more information on fossil folklore, how fossils have been  used in medicine and as decoration:


18) Add at least 5 more quiz cards to your trivia game filebox.  Use the DK Eyewitness Fossil book, the Usborne Spotter’s Guide: Rocks and Minerals, or some other fossil book if you need help finding more facts or want to delve deeper.


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