Where can you find whales in a desert?
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IMPORTANT NOTE

THIS LESSON WAS REVISED ON JULY 1, 2019.

If you've prepped for the activity prior to that date, we suggest using the previous version.

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DISCUSS:

What do you think this came from?

mystery-fossil

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DISCUSS:

So far, Doug has found fossil seashells and a fossil shark tooth. What other fossils do you think Doug would find in the quarry?

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DISCUSS:

Do you think habitats have changed in other parts of the world besides Illinois? How could you find out?

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Extensions

Below are ideas for extending this topic beyond the Exploration and Activity you just completed.
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Activity: Fossil Formation

This website from the Kentucky Geological Survey includes several hands-on activities that demonstrate how different types of fossils form. It includes a variation on the classic plaster and mold activity using white glue instead.

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Video

  • In this video, paleontologists in Argentina discover and transport fossils to a museum for further study. (4:19, PBS)

  • Meet Mark Rentz, a paleontologist who studies fossils in Florida. Watch this video to see him talk about finding shark and whale teeth in a Florida creek. (3:13, WGCU Curious Kids)

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Print Prep
Activity Prep

THIS LESSON WAS REVISED ON JULY 1, 2019. If you've prepped prior to that date, we suggest using the previous version.
In this Mystery, students explore the idea that the rock under our feet sometimes contains fossils, and investigate how these fossils reveal changes in habitat through time. In the activity, Fossil Dig, students use paper to create a model fossil dig. They identify traits of fossils to determine what the habitat looked like when these organisms were alive. Then they use this information to figure out where some Mystery Fossils belong in their fossil dig.

Preview activity

Number of students:
Glue Sticks
1 glue stick per student
Scissors
1 pair per student
Dot Stickers
We prefer stickers because they are easier to distribute in a classroom. Tape will also work.
Details
3 stickers per student
Fossil Dig printout 1 per student
Fossil Dig Answer Key printout 1 per class
Fossil Dig Questions printout 1 per student
Mystery Fossils printout 1 per pair
Prep Instructions

We suggest students work in pairs. Homeschool students can work on their own.

Prepare Mystery Fossils

Mystery Fossils will print two per page so you may want to cut each page in half before class. Each student needs a ½ sheet for the activity.

Extensions
Download this Mystery to your device so you can play it offline: