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Paleontology & Evolution

Lesson Plans

Denver’s Prehistoric Journey - (7-12) – A guide for taking students to the Denver Museum of Nature and Science Prehistoric Journey. For Colorado Front Range teachers able to go on a field trip in Denver.


Lesson Plan Links

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Life Has a History - introduces students to the history of life and how it results in today's biodiversity.
Getting Into the Fossil Record - helps students gain a basic understanding of what a fossil is and how a fossil forms. Need computer access, adaptable to elementary.
Understanding Geologic Time - introduces students to geologic time, the evidence for events in Earth's history, relative and absolute dating techniques, and the significance of the geologic time scale. Need computer access, adaptable to elementary.
Stories From the Fossil Record - provides students with a basic understanding of how fossils can be used to interpret the past. There are four different pathways to explore: biodiversity, geologic time, paleoecology and past lives. Need computer access, adaptable to elementary.
Adventures at Dry Creek - virtually engages students in scientific research. Students join "science mentors" to gather data and interpret direct and indirect evidence to propose multiple hypotheses of what life was like in Montana 60-70 million years ago. Need student computer access.
What Did T.rex Taste Like? - provides an introduction to cladistics (a way of organizing living things by common ancestry and evolutionary relationships) and involves students in posing hypotheses about past life based upon evolutionary history. Need computer access, adaptable for grades 7&8.
The Evolution of Flight - examines evidence from the fossil record, behavior, biomechanics and cladistic analysis to interpret the sequence of events that led to flight in the dinosaur lineage. Students gather, organize and analyze data and then propose hypotheses about the evolution of flight in birds. Need computer access, adaptable to grades 7-8.
Learning From the Fossil Record - A collection of informative papers and activities to assist teachers in using paleontology and related fields to teach major concepts in science. They also help to tell part of the story of the Earth.
Who's On First - A relative dating activity.
Excavating Your Recycling Bin as a Fossil Record - Simulate how scientists study the past. Scientists use layers of rock with fossils to understand the past.
Dinosaur Dig - To give a classroom experience of how difficult it is to interpret a paleontological discovery while being in a classroom environment. Uses wooden models of selected dinosaurs to demonstrate a procedure a field paleontologist may use.
Zoom Dinosaurs - is a comprehensive on-line hypertext book about dinosaurs. It is designed for students of all ages and levels of comprehension. It has an easy-to-use structure that allows readers to start at a basic level on each topic, and then to progress to much more advanced information as desired, simply by clicking on links. Contains some activities, lesson plans, quizzes, puzzles and games.


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