Grade 2 - Fossils
Step by Step Fossils Unit Opener by Sarah Weininger
Powerpoint: What Are Fossils? from Harding Elementary
Powerpoint: Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Carol Potter
Students' questions for the Concept Question Board are far better when students have something concrete to think of when they think of dinosaurs.
To review vocabulary & key concepts, I send the kids in teams on a paleontology dig. I used tagboard cut-outs (laminated--they've lasted for years!--appropriate for fossils, no?) of shells, leaves, bones, and dinosaur footprints. In four areas of the room, I hide the "fossils" for the teams to find.
Each vocabulary word or concept fossil has a matching definition fossil. The kids find the matching pairs. You'll hear lots of lively discussion as they work. I rotate the kids through all four stations, allowing them to "re-bury" the fossils for the next group. They get quite creative in this endeavor, which also shows what they've learned about how fossils have formed and been discovered. I guarantee that they know the material when they're done, and they've had a great time as well.
At the end of the fossils unit, I review all vocabulary and concepts with a fossil dig. First, I've prepared "concentration" fossils--a word or concept with a matching definition or explanation. I have four dig sites which feature leaves, bones, shells, or footprints,each with sets of paired fossil cut-outs which I've laminated--they've lasted for years! I divide the class into four groups of paleontologists, and, after I've hidden the fossils, the kids have to look for them and match them up. This encourages great participation and discussion while they're working. After the groups finish working at their site and share their findings with me, the kids re-hide the fossils, and they rotate to the next dig site. I can tell you that they love this activity, and really know their fossils vocab & concepts! You can add to the fun with pith helmets & tools, whatever comes to mind!
Use Google to get pictures of fossils set up computer to rotate them as a screen saver. This excites students to see what they are going to be learning about.
Students research a theory on what they believe caused the extinction of dinosaurs. Next, they take the report home and with the assistance of their family create a diorama depicting their theory. They can then return it to school and display them at End of Unit parent night.
Have students separate chocolate chips from chocolate chip cookies using toothpicks to simulate a paleontologist's job.