Objective: Children will explore what paleontologists do and experiment with the tools they use to learn about the history of life on Earth.
Note: This activity involves creating an egg out of clay that will take up to a week to dry. The children will then use tools, similar to what a paleontologist uses, to open the eggs.
Paleontologists are people who use fossils to learn about past life forms. Fossils are the remains of life forms that lived long ago and that have over millions of years, been turned to stone. Both paleontologists and archeologists explore sites to learn about past history, but paleontologists are different from archeologists. Archeologists explore artifacts to learn about the history of other cultures and life styles while paleontologists explore fossils to learn about the history of life forms. Both archeologists and paleontologists study their findings and preserve them so other people can learn from them. During an excavation paleontologists use special tools to carefully remove fossils from their surroundings. They may use shovels, trowels, paintbrushes, or dental picks. Once a fossil is collected, the paleontologist will carefully study the item and then preserve it.
Dinosaurs were reptiles that lived through three periods of Earth's geologic history: Triassic (248–208 million years ago), Jurassic (208–146 million years ago), and Cretaceous (146–65 million years ago). Different species of dinosaurs flourished and then became extinct throughout these three periods. Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for more than 180 million years, and then they became extinct. Over 300 species of dinosaurs have been found. Dinosaur remains have been found on every continent, including Antarctica. All dinosaurs were reptiles, but not all reptiles were dinosaurs. Even though the name “dinosaur” means “terrible lizard,” dinosaurs were not lizards at all. They lived on land, and did not fly in the air or live in the water. All dinosaurs had four limbs. Some walked on all four limbs, others just walked on their two back legs. Dinosaurs had scaly skin and laid eggs.
These lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards ("CCSS"). The CCSS provide a consistent, clear understanding of the concepts and skills children are expected to learn and guide teachers to provide their students with opportunities to gain these important skills and foundational knowledge.
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There are currently no Common Core Standards for pre-k, but these lessons are aligned as closely as possible to capture the requirements and meet the goals of Common Core Standards. However, these lessons were neither reviewed or approved by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices or the Council of Chief State School Officers, which together are the owners and developers of the Common Core State Standards.