Paleontologists are scientists who study the history of the world by excavating dirt and rock layers in search of fossils from ancient plants and animals. Sometimes these paleontologists have to wait years for a cliffside to change its formation so that more of a fossil is revealed. We will learn more about this process in this lesson.
I can explain what fossils found in rock layers reveal about the history of the Earth.
Paleontology - The Big Dig
Have students explore the many resources provided to learn about fossils. Allow students to perform a Journal Write and explain what fossils are able to tell us about Earth’s past.
The Grand Canyon - The Top Two Rock Layers
By watching the video, students will understand how fossils found in various rock layers tell us the history of that particular location.
Relate this concept to the previous video shown about the paleontologists finding the whale fossils on the side of Calvert Cliffs. Have a discussion about what finding a whale fossil on a landform tells us about what existed there before the land was formed.
The Oldest Rock Layer
This activity allows students to analyze patterns and to understand that the layers of rock that are deepest in the ground indicate an older time period on Earth. Fossils that are found in the deeper rock layers belong to organisms that lived on Earth long before organisms whose fossils are found in more shallow rock layers.
Have students debate which two organisms (of the four shown) they think have the most similar life cycles.
This learning resource is a production of Maryland Public Television/Thinkport.