Round Rocks

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Resource Type:Classroom Activities; Curricula and Instruction
Grade Level:
K 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
Organization:University of California Museum of Paleontology (UCMP)
Summary:Suppose you are given one hour to tell someone about paleontology. The audience is naive but interested. They want to know something about paleontology but have not previously received, and may ever again receive, formal instruction in the subject. What will you choose to talk about? The example of having only a single hour with an audience is not far from the situation many paleontological educators confront. Whether as informal museum educators, occasional speakers to classes or teacher workshops, or college professors of non-major science classes, many paleontological educators have a very short period of contact to cover a given subject. With all of these factors in mind, we find that a highly effective way of presenting paleontology is to emphasize the thought processes that paleontologists use in their science. These processes are not often articulated by practicing professionals, but they are in fact the central questions of the discipline: How do we know that fossils were once alive? How do we know that an object is a fossil? How do we know what kind of environment it lived in? How do we know how old it is? These questions focus on how paleontologists do what they do. They compel students to think about the process of scientific reasoning.
Earth Science Big Ideas:Big Idea 2; Big Idea 3
NGSS Discplinary Core Ideas:ESS1.C; ESS2.A
NGSS Performance Expectations:4-ESS1-1; MS-ESS2-2
NGSS Science and Engineering Practices:Constructing explanations (for science) and designing solutions (for engineering)
NGSS Crosscutting Concepts:Patterns; Scale, proportion, and quantity
Subjects: 6-8; 9-12; elementary school; high school; k-12; k-3; k-4; k-5; k-5 geosource; k-6; k-8; k-9; middle school; paleontology
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