One Stop Shop For Educator

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1 One Stop Shop For Educator The following instructional plan is part of a GaDOE collection of Unit Frameworks, Performance Tasks, examples of Student Work, and Teacher Commentary. Many more GaDOE approved instructional plans are available by using the Search Standards feature located on GeorgiaStandards.Org. SIMULATING A FOSSIL DIG Standards: Content: S7L5. Students will examine the evolution of living organisms through inherited characteristics that promote survival of organisms and the survival of successive generations of their offspring. a. Explain that physical characteristics of organisms have changed over successive generations (e.g. Darwin s finches and peppered moths of Manchester). c. Trace evidence that the fossil record found in sedimentary rock provides evidence for the long history of changing life forms. Habits of Mind: S7CS1. Students will explore the importance of curiosity, honesty, openness, and skepticism in science and will exhibit these traits in their own efforts to understand how the world works. a. Understand the importance of and keep honest, clear, and accurate records in science. b. Understand that hypotheses can be valuable, even if they turn out not to be completely accurate. S7CS3. Students will have the computation and estimation skills necessary for analyzing data and following scientific explanations. d. Draw conclusions based on analyzed data. S7CS4. Students will use tools and instruments for observing, measuring, and manipulation equipment and materials in scientific activities. a. Use appropriate technology to store and retrieve scientific information in topical, alphabetical, numerical, and keyword files, and create simple files. JULY 2008 Page 1 of 5

2 S7CS5. Students will use the ideas of system, model, change, and scale in exploring scientific and technological matters. b. Understand that different models (such as physical replicas, pictures, and analogies) can be used to represent the same thing. S7CS6. Students will communicate scientific ideas and activities clearly. c. Organize scientific information using appropriate simple tables, charts, and graphs, and identify relationships they reveal. S7CS7. Students will question scientific claims and arguments effectively. a. Question claims based on vague attributions (such as Leading doctors say ) or on statements made by people outside the area of their particular expertise. b. Identify the flaws of reasoning that are based on poorly designed research. (i.e., facts intermingled with opinion, conclusions based on insufficient evidence.) c. Question the value of arguments based on small samples of data, biased samples, or samples for which there is no control. d. Recognize that there may be more than one way to interpret a given set of findings. Nature of Science: S7CS8. Students will investigate the characteristics of scientific knowledge and how that knowledge is achieved. c. As prevailing theories are challenged by new information, scientific knowledge may change. S7CS9. Students will investigate the features of the process of scientific inquiry. b. Scientific investigations usually involve collecting evidence, reasoning, devising hypotheses, and formulating explanations to make sense of collected data. d. Scientists often collaborate to design research. To prevent this bias, scientists conduct independent studies of the same questions. e. Accurate record keeping, data sharing, and replication of results are essential for maintaining an investigator s credibility with other scientists and society. Scientists use technology and mathematics to enhance the process of scientific inquiry. JULY 2008 Page 2 of 5

3 Enduring Understandings: Physical characteristics of populations of organisms change over time due to changing conditions. Fossils provide evidence for change. Essential Question: How is an individual fossil organism reconstructed from partial remains of multiple organisms? ADMINISTRATION PROCEDURES Outcome / Performance Expectations: General Teacher Instructions: Materials Needed: Safety Precautions: Task with Student Directions: The students will work as a team of paleontologists to simulate a fossil dig. They will also re-enact an interview to participate in an interview with a real paleontologist. Use the following essential question to guide instruction: How is an individual fossil organism reconstructed from partial remains of multiple organisms? 1. Fossil puzzles, one per each group of 3-5. View the puzzle PowerPoint. Options for puzzles include printing out chosen slides on card stock. Then, you can cut up the individual images into pieces and place these pieces in a baggy. Option two involves saving the PowerPoint to C.D. or flash drive and taking the images to a photography store. Some of these stores have software to print images as puzzles. You may want to remove several pieces from each puzzle to simulate how paleontologists do not find all fossil pieces. 2. Computer lab or library None I. Activating Strategy: Simulating a Fossil Dig Purpose: To simulate a fossil dig. Materials: Fossil puzzles with the pieces in a box or bag; one bag or box per group. View the materials section for puzzle assembly instructions. JULY 2008 Page 3 of 5

4 1. Place students into groups of two or three. Reinforce the idea that scientists work together and therefore, they will be working with someone else. 2. Inform students that they are going to go on a simulated fossil dig. 3. Give each group of students the bag/box with the puzzle pieces inside. Save some of the puzzles for the culminating activity. So, do not reveal all of the fossil skulls to the students at this point. 4. Instruct students to uncover their fossil pieces one at a time. 5. Tell them also to use morphological characters to match the pieces together and reconstruct their fossil. 6. Use these follow-up questions to help students make sense of the activity: What scientific skills were you using when participating in this fossil dig? How was this activity like and unlike being a paleontologist? What questions do you have about your fossil? How would you go about answering these questions if you were a paleontologist? 7. Teacher note: No mention of evolution has to be made. The students can generate the questions and answer these questions if they like. If students ask, What is this?, you can respond, This is the same question that scientists ask when they find these fossils. How do you think scientists answer this question? II. Teaching/Learning Task: Interviewing a Paleontologist Day Three, lesson two, teaching lesson: Interview with a Paleontologist Purpose: To expose the students to the realities of working as a paleontologist Materials: Library or computer lab. 1. Allow students to work in pairs of individually. 2. Inform students that they are going to create a mock interview between an interviewer of their choice (Opra) and a famous paleoantropologist. 3. Allow students to go to the library or computer lab to conduct research on the life of a paleoantropologist. 4. They can use the following questions to help conduct research: JULY 2008 Page 4 of 5

5 What does it mean to be a paleoantropologist? What has been your most exciting fossil find? Where did you find your fossil? What was a working day like when searching for fossils during this time? How long did it take you to reconstruct one whole fossil? If fossils are not found as whole pieces, how do you know which pieces fit together? How do you determine what species you have found? How do you know how old the fossil is? What can the fossils that you have found, tell us about the past? 5. Give students time to create an interview script based on the research they have conducted. 6. Finally, have the two participants re-enact the interview. III. Summarizing Activity: Exit Pass Purpose: To summarize salient points learned about paleontology Materials: A slip of paper for each student 1. Have students write their name on their exit pass. 2. Give them the following prompts and instruct them to write several sentences based on the prompts. Prompt one: The most surprising thing I learned about paleontologists was Prompt two: Another question I would like to ask about paleontology is Homework / Extension: Owl pellets can also be used for a similar inquiry-based activity; bones found in the pellet are reconstructed to infer the owl s diet. JULY 2008 Page 5 of 5

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