Cookie Fossil Dig
- The students will identify terms relating to a fossil dig.
- A medium-sized box filled with sand for each table
- One chocolate chip cookie per student, buried in the sand
- A plastic shovel for each student
- A small paintbrush for each student
- Two toothpicks per student
- Science journal for each student
- Paleontologist video
- The teacher should fill each medium-sized box with sand, and burry at least one chocolate chip cookie per student in the sand. Each table should have one box filled with sand, as well as one paintbrush, one shovel, and one toothpick per student. Tables should be arranged based on student’s abilities.
2) Instructional Strategies:
-The teacher will initiate student’s background knowledge by asking students what they know about fossils and paleontologists. Make a “KWL chart” on the board, and fill out the “know” part as the students share their background knowledge. Next, have the students list what they would like to know about fossils and paleontologist.
-Show the paleontologist video (http://www.pbs.org/kcet/wiredscience/video/193-virtual_paleontology.html).
-Tell the students that they are going to get the chance to become paleontologist for a day.
-Go over the directions: “There is a box of sand on each table. Each student will use their shovel to dig through the sand until they find a “fossilized rock” (chocolate chip cookie). Once you have your “fossilized rock”, place it in front of you and use your “fossil brush” (paintbrush) to brush off the excess sand. After most of the sand is off of your “fossilized rock”, use your “fossil pick” (toothpick) to carefully dig the “fossils” (chocolate chips) out of the “rock” (cookie).
-The students will record what they have learned about fossils and paleontologists on the left side of their science journal (The left side of the brain controls your logic and analytical thought).
-The students will draw a picture of the process they went through to complete their “fossil dig” on the right side of their science journal (The right side of the brain controls your creativity).
-When all students are through, discuss what the students have learned by filling in the remainder of the “KWL chart”. Compare what students said they wanted to learn, and what they actually learned.
-As a lesson extension, students can search their backyards at home for anything that has or could become fossilized.
-Students needing extra assistance can work in small groups with the teacher during centers. While in the small group, students should discuss what a paleontologist is and the process of a fossil dig. After discussing these steps, have students complete a “Picture Me Paleontologist”, a drawing depicting themselves as paleontologists. On the reverse side, have students write or draw the steps they would take to uncover a fossil in their own backyard.
Assessment of Learning:
-An informal assessment will be given based on student participation of the KWL chart, as well as the cookie fossil dig experiment.