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DE Science Elementary. “5-Minute Prep” For Earth History Clues to Earth’s History Fossils. Fossils – The Big Ideas. Fossils are the remains, imprints, or traces of prehistoric organisms. The rock layer containing a fossil provides information about a fossil’s age.

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De science elementary

DE Science Elementary

“5-Minute Prep” ForEarth History

Clues to Earth’s History


Fossils the big ideas
Fossils – The Big Ideas

  • Fossils are the remains, imprints, or traces of prehistoric organisms.

  • The rock layer containing a fossil provides information about a fossil’s age.

  • Fossils form when remains are replaced with minerals or an organism leaves space in sediment.

  • Preserved footprints, trails, or burrows of prehistoric animals are trace fossils.

  • A fossil may give information about an area’s environment during a period of Earth’s history.

Fossils prior knowledge
Fossils- Prior Knowledge

Students probably have limited knowledge about fossils. Their knowledge of fossils is probably limited to what they’ve learned in early elementary school about dinosaurs. Before beginning this unit it would help to have students preview the vocabulary using the interactive glossary. In addition, students would benefit from a quick review of concepts they learned when studying rocks and minerals. It would also help students if they:

  • Have seen images or fossils in real life

  • Are familiar with rock types and layers

Fossils common misconceptions
Fossils – Common Misconceptions

  • Fossils are pieces of dead animals and plants .

    • Reality: Fossils are not actually pieces of dead animals and plants. They are only the impression or cast of the original living thing. The actual living parts decay away but their shape is permanently recorded in the rock as it hardens.

  • Fossils of tropical plants cannot be found in deserts.

    • Reality: Fossils record ancient environments present at the time the rocks were deposited. The climate of a particular location can change.

  • Fossils can be found in all types of rocks.

    • Reality: Sedimentary rocks can contain fossils because, unlike most igneous and metamorphic rocks, they form at temperatures and pressures that do not destroy fossil remains.

Fossils using de science content
Fossils – Using DE Science Content

When you close this presentation, you can review the following recommended resources for Fossils.

  • Exploration: Fossils

  • Reading Passage: Make Your Own Fossil

  • E Book: Discovery of a New Dinosaur

  • Video: What Are Fossils?

    Use the PowerPoint version of this presentation for hyperlinks to these resources or you can get to them through the browser or search feature.

Fossils instructional ideas
Fossils - Instructional Ideas

  • Students can read the e-Book, Discovery of a New Dinosaur with a partner. Then, they can pretend they are reporters for a local newspaper and write an article about the new discovery.

  • In the Reading Passage called Make Your Own Fossil, students will read a set of directions. After students are finished reading, provide them with the materials so they can read to perform the task of making an imprint fossil.

  • Using the Exploration, students can sort fossils as being trace or body fossils. Then, students can drag and drop images to show how a trace fossil forms. After completing the exploration, ask students to explain the difference between body and trace fossils to a classmate.

State standards
State standards:

If you wish to review your state standards about fossils, click here to get to the curriculum standards search feature of DES.

You can click on any standard to see what resources are available to teach it.

Additional Information:

For additional content, check the Extend section within the concept.