Learn in g F r o m the P o lar P as t
Hi ghlights From Issue 2 (Apri l 2008) Mouth of a volcanic cone with layers of ice and ash on Deception Island in the South Shetlands, Antarctica. Photo courtesy of Sue Sheridan.
Table of Contents Rocks & Minerals, Issue 6 (September 2008) Science Content Knowledge
Geologic Time, Fossils, and Archaeology: Content Knowledge for Teachers
By Jessica Fries-Gaither
Literacy Content Knowledge
Teacher Resources for Making Inferences, Using Context Clues
By Jessica Fries-Gaither
Dinos in the Dark
By Stephen Whitt
Common Misconceptions about Fossils and the History of the Polar Regions
By Jessica Fries-Gaither
Across the Curriculum: Lessons and Activities
Whatâ€™s the Difference? Activities to Teach Paleontology and Archaeology
By Jessica Fries-Gaither
Science & Literacy: Lessons and Activities
Learning about Fossils Through Hands-on Science and Literacy
By Jessica Fries-Gaither
Off the Bookshelf
Learning From the Polar Past: Virtual Bookshelf
By Kate Hastings
Science Content Knowledge Geologic Time, Fossils, and Archaeology: Content Knowledge for Teachers By Jessica Fries-Gaither For scientists of the natural and cultural world, clues to the past come in the form of fossils, bones, and artifacts. Whether created naturally or by humans, these "clues" provide a glimpse into what life was like long ago. They are undeniably engaging. Who hasn't been intrigued by a fossil, a dinosaur skeleton, or an arrowhead? Even what seem to be simple objects point to a wealth of information and scientific concepts: geologic time, plate tectonics, rocks and minerals, and so on.
While the polar regions provide an engaging hook â€“ Did you know that there are plant and animal fossils in Antarctica? â€“ most elementary curricula deal with the basics: the types of fossils, the process of fossilization, and what scientists can learn from fossils. We've chosen to highlight resources that will develop your own personal knowledge of geologic time and fossil basics. We've also included a few sites that
discuss polar fossils and Arctic archaeology, which can be used in conjunction with the lessons and activities in the article Whatâ€™s the Difference? Activities to Teach Paleontology and Archaeology on page 19. Finally, we've referenced the National Science Education Standards that are met by teaching these topics. This Dynamic Earth: The Story of Plate Tectonics. Photo courtesy of USA: United States Geological Survey, Wikimedia Commons.
Like every other region on earth, the Arctic and Antarctica are home to these types of clues. Glossopteris fossils, found in Antarctica (and all southern continents), inspired Alfred Wegner to first propose the concept of Pangaea and continental drift. Cultural artifacts found in Alaska suggest an ancient migration across the Bering land bridge. Recently discovered dinosaur fossils in both polar regions raise interesting questions about past climate as well as adaptations. 3
Science Content Knowledge
Many types of fossils have been found in the Arctic and Antarctica.
GEOLOGIC TIME Earth history spans approximately 4.5 billion years. This history has been divided by geologists into smaller periods: eons, eras, and epochs based on climatic events and the presence of various forms of life. Geologic Time: Eons, Eras, and Epochs: Background Information for Teachers http://msteacher.org/epubs/ science/science16/ background.aspx This page is from a larger epublication, Geologic Time:
Eons, Eras, and Epochs, published by the Middle School Portal of the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). Included in the links to texts, graphics, interactive presentations, and online courses for teachers are common student misconceptions, information about the geologic time scale, and fossils. Smithsonian Geologic Time Interactive http://paleobiology.si.edu/ geotime/index.htm At this site, the Smithsonian Department of Paleobiology invites users to explore the eons, eras, periods, and epochs of Earth’s history through an interactive timeline. Each segment on the timeline contains an overview with defining and secondary characteristics as well as links to more detailed information.
Fossil; Trilobites 2. Photo courtesy of dyet, Stock.xchng.
The History of Life in a Single Year http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/ thezone/fossils/history/ calendar.htm The concept of geologic time can be overwhelming for teachers and students alike. One popular analogy is to compare geologic time to a single year. This page provides corresponding dates and explanations for major events throughout geologic time. FOSSILS There are many different types of fossils. Body fossils, though rare, include bones, teeth, or entire organisms preserved by freezing or being trapped in wax, asphalt (tar), or amber. This is the only method for preservation of soft tissue. Impression fossils show outlines of plants, feathers, or fish that die in sediment. As they decay, they leave a carbon
Plant Fossil 2. Photo courtesy of Adammantios, Wikimedia Commons.
Science Content Knowledge deposit that shows as a dark print of the organism. Tracks, tail marks, burrows, teeth marks, and body outlines are considered impression fossils. These impressions form in soft sediment and are covered before they can be washed away or destroyed.
Quick Take on Fossil Formation http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/ middle-school-math-science/ 2008/02/28/fossil-formation/ This one-page resource from the NSDL Middle School Portal provides links to four sites that discuss fossil formation.
Mold and cast fossils are also impression fossils. A mold is formed when an organism is buried in sediment and decays, leaving a hole (the mold) in its place. If this mold is later filled with sediment, it produces a three-dimensional model (the cast) that resembles the organism.
Fossils: Window to the Past http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/ paleo/fossils/ This page addresses the overarching question "What is a fossil?" by discussing the types of fossils, fossilization, finding and dating fossils, and what we can learn from fossils.
Mineral replacement fossils are formed when an organism is buried in sediment. Water seeping into the bone dissolves the bone, which is replaced by minerals. Petrified wood is also an example of a mineral replacement (or permineralization) fossil.
Fossil Frog. Photo courtesy of kevinzim, Flickr.
Fossils http://www.oum.ox.ac.uk/ thezone/fossils/index.htm This page, from the Oxford Museum of Natural History, includes links to information about fossils, geologic time, and identifying invertebrates. This
site may also be useful for upper-elementary students. POLAR FOSSILS Many types of fossils have been found in the Arctic and Antarctica. Both regions include rich deposits of plant and marine animal remains, as evidenced by the presence of oil fields in the Arctic and coal deposits in Antarctic mountains. Fossils of trees and other plants indicate that both regions once were much more temperate in climate than today. Dinosaurs have been found in both locations. Near-Polar Finds Offer New Look at Dinosaurs http://query.nytimes.com/gst/ fullpage.html? res=9C0CE0D81F38F930A257 52C1A966958260 This 2002 article from the New York Times archive provides an overview of polar dinosaurs and their prehistoric environment.
Plant Fossil. Photo courtesy of porah, Stock.xchng.
Science Content Knowledge Arctic Redwood Fossils Are Clues to Ancient Climates http:// news.nationalgeographic.com/ news/ 2002/03/0326_020326_TVredw oods.html This 2002 article from National Geographic Today discusses the redwood-type fossils found in the Arctic region.
migrated from Eurasia into Alaska via the Bering land bridge about 11,000 years ago. From Alaska, migrations continued, with eventual settlements across northern Canada and Greenland. These cultural groups shared an ability to survive in the harsh environments of the Arctic and relied heavily on resources from the sea and land.
Fossil Forests http:// www.sciencenewsforkids.org/ articles/20070110/Feature1.asp This article from Science News for Kids discusses the fossilized trees found in the Arctic region.
Peoples under the Arctic Sky http:// beyondpenguins.nsdl.org/ issue/column.php? date=October2009&departmen tid=professional&columnid=pro fessional!science Learn about the indigenous peoples of the Arctic in this article written by the program director of GoNorth!, an adventure learning series focused on the circumpolar Arctic.
ARCHAEOLOGY AND CULTURE (ARCTIC REGION) People have lived in the Arctic for thousands of years. All Arctic people can trace their heritage to a common ancestor in central Asia. It is believed that people
Archaeology in Arctic North America http:// anthropology.uwaterloo.ca/ ArcticArchStuff/index.html This multipaged site includes a brief overview of the Arctic environment, a discussion of the challenges of Arctic archaeology, and archaeological site descriptions. Most useful is the cultural history of the Arctic, which provides an overview of the traditions of Arctic people. Native Americans: Arctic Culture: Inupiaq, Yup'ik and Kalaalit (Inuit) http://www.u-s-history.com/ pages/h994.html This page discusses the indigenous Arctic cultural groups found in North America.
GOODGE. Photo courtesy of John Goodge, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
Science Content Knowledge NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS Teaching about fossils meets the following content standards:
develop understandings necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry.
Science as Inquiry (Content Standard A): As a result of their activities in grades K-4, all students should develop understandings necessary to do scientific inquiry and understandings about scientific inquiry.
• Use appropriate tools and techniques to gather, analyze, and interpret data.
• Ask questions about objects, organisms, and events in the environment. • Employ simple equipment and tools to gather data and extend the senses. • Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. • Communicate investigations and explanations. As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should
• Develop descriptions, explanations, predictions, and models using evidence. • Think critically and logically to make the relationships between evidence and explanations. • Recognize and analyze alternative explanations and predictions. • Communicate scientific procedures and explanations. Earth and Space Science (Content Standard D): As a result of their activities in grades K-4, all students should develop an understanding of
properties of earth materials, objects in the sky, and changes in earth and sky. • Fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at the time. As a result of their activities in grades 5-8, all students should develop an understanding of structure of the earth system, earth’s history, and earth in the solar system. • Fossils provide important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed. Read the entire National Science Education Standards online for free or register to download the free PDF. The content standards are found in Chapter 6, http:// books.nap.edu/openbook.php? record_id=4962&page=103.
ASHWORTH_UNDERGRADS. Photo courtesy of Peter Rejcek, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
Literacy Content Knowledge Teacher Resources for Making Inferences, Using Context Clues By Jessica Fries-Gaither How is the process of reading like playing the board game Clue? Both involve assembling "clues" and evidence to make sense of a particular situation or puzzle. However, while the game may be played without conscious or strategic choices, making inferences while reading is a deliberate and purposeful strategy. Research tells us that proficient readers use their own
When teaching students to use context clues, it is important to discuss examples in which the context is not meaningful and provide alternative strategies, such as consulting a dictionary.
experience as well as the literal text to construct meaning. Yet this process of making inferences is not an intuitive process. Students need explicit instruction and opportunities to practice this meaning-making process. Modeling, teacher think-alouds, and the use of graphic organizers support students as they learn to make inferences. One way that readers make inferences is by using context clues to figure out the meaning of an unknown word. By first making a prediction about the unknown word's meaning and then reading to determine if the context clues found in the text support the prediction, students can make inferences and develop vocabulary skills.
Above: Home work routine. Photo courtesy of Woodleywonderworks, Flickr. Right: stk146581rke_22. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
There are several types of context clues, including direct definition clues, synonym or antonym clues, and inferential clues. While direct definition clues provide an actual definition within the text, inferential clues require that the reader uses information from the text and his or her own background knowledge to make sense of the unknown word. Synonym and antonym clues can be helpful only if the clue word is familiar to the student. Often, punctuation is used within a sentence to signal a definition, or examples are listed after signal words like such as. With explicit instruction and teacher modeling, students will begin to identify these contextual clues independently.
Literacy Content Knowledge It is important to note that the strategy of using context clues is not without limitations. Some sentences provide little context to assist readers in constructing a working definition. One oftencited example is "We heard the back door open, and then recognized the buoyant footsteps of Uncle Larry." This sentence provides little helpful information in determining the meaning of the word buoyant. When teaching students to use context clues, it is important to discuss examples in which the context is not meaningful and provide alternative strategies, such as consulting a dictionary. Use the following resources to build your knowledge of the process of making inferences and using context clues. Several resources are indicated as also suitable for use with your students. INFERENCES Into the Book Into the Book is a reading comprehension resource for K-4 students and teachers. It focuses on these researchbased strategies: Using Prior Knowledge, Making Connections, Questioning, Visualizing, Inferring, Summarizing and Synthesizing.
Boys on the Computer. Photo courtesy of Getty Images.
For this issue of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, we've highlighted the sections dedicated to the strategy of inferring. Links to teacher and student areas are discussed separately. Into the Book - Teacher Area: Inferring http://reading.ecb.org/teacher/ inferring/index.html This area of the site, designed for teachers, provides background information about the strategy of inferring. Formal and informal definitions of the strategy are provided as well as five learning objectives. Each learning objective is addressed in a video clip. The Teacher Area also includes seven pages accessible from a side navigation bar: Student
Interactive (a guide to the Student Area described below), Student Video (a guide to the 15-minute video for use with your students), Teacher Video (a 15-minute video showing a reading professor teach the strategy to third-grade students), Lessons, Books, Research, and Links. The wealth of information contained in this site provides a comprehensive resource about the strategy of inferring. Into the Book - Student Area http://reading.ecb.org/student/ index.html Students must have a key to access the site. Only a first name is required to generate a key, and a key may be reused on several occasions by the same student. This part of the site is most appropriate for students to
Literacy Content Knowledge use individually, but it could be projected for group or whole class use. Within the site, students select a tool that represents one of the reading strategies. For the strategy of inferring, students need to select the magnifying glass and drag it over the large book in the center of the screen. The book then opens to reveal an interactive site that teaches the strategy, models the process of using the strategy, and then asks students to try the skill. Audio, song, video, and interactive graphics are all part of this engaging and informative activity. Making Inferences http://www.ohiorc.org/adlit/ strategy/strategy_each.aspx? id=4 This article, available from the Ohio Resource Center's AdLIT Reading Strategies web page, discusses the process of making inferences as well as what teachers can do to support students in making inferences before and during reading. The page includes a graphic organizer template and links to two additional graphic organizers to aid students in making inferences. Using inferences to teach vocabulary and resources for further reading are also included.
Reading Strategies for the Journey North Teacher: Make Inferences and Draw Conclusions http://www.learner.org/jnorth/ tm/ReadStrat11.html Written for teachers, this area from the larger Journey North site discusses the reading strategy of making inferences. In addition to an overview of the strategy, there are seven guiding questions to help students learn to make inferences and draw conclusions from evidence. CONTEXT CLUES Overlapping Vocabulary and Comprehension: Context Clues Complement Semantic Gradients http://www.reading.org/Library/ Retrieve.cfm?D=10.1598/RT. 61.3.5&F=RT-61-3Greenwood.pdf This article, from the November 2007 issue of The Reading Teacher, discusses a "vocabulary-to-comprehension disconnect" that occurs when students learn the discrete meaning of a word yet do not connect the meaning back to the text's larger context. The authors describe an integrated teaching strategy in which context clues and semantic gradients (an array of related words placed along a continuum) are used to support students in connecting
vocabulary words and passage comprehension. In addition to this innovative strategy, the article provides an introduction to context clues and the research documenting their effectiveness in vocabulary development. (Available to subscribers and others for purchase as a downloadable file.) Cloze Activity http://www.learnnc.org/ reference/cloze+activity This article describes the use of cloze activities to help students use context clues. Vocabulary and Word Study http://www.ohiorc.org/adlit/ ip_content.aspx? recid=161&parentid=158&issue =0&status=live This vignette describes one teacher's experience with vocabulary development and context clues. Text Talk: Julius, the Baby of the World http://www.readwritethink.org/ classroom-resources/lessonplans/text-talk-juliusbaby-25.html The importance of reading aloud to children is a long established tenet of reading instruction. This lesson supports the language development and reading comprehension of kindergarten through second graders. Through the use of the text talk
Literacy Content Knowledge
With guided practice students will use context clues to determine meaning of unfamiliar words in short passages.
strategy, students explain, develop, and expand upon story ideas. This lesson is designed to help students learn how to gain meaning from decontextualized language. Acquiring New Vocabulary Through Book Discussion Groups http://www.readwritethink.org/ classroom-resources/lessonplans/acquiring-vocabularythrough-book-170.html This lesson explores various ways in which you can foster students' vocabulary skills through direct instruction and small-group discussions. While reading the text Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, students identify words that are unfamiliar to them. Working collaboratively in small groups, they discuss the meaning of these new words
Teacher and Student. Photo courtesy of Wonderlane, Flickr.
using context clues from the text, prior knowledge, and print and online resources. They then apply their knowledge of the new vocabulary to further their understanding of the text. This particular lesson can be modified and reused for other areas of the curriculum, with moderate preparation and researching of topic-related resources. Extensions are included to further expand vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. This lesson is designed for students in grades 3-5.
determine meaning of unfamiliar words in short passages. When students have completed the practice activities, they will read a newspaper or magazine article, picking out unfamiliar words and using context clues to decide what the word means. As a group activity they will share the article, the words, and their meanings with the class. This lesson is designed for students in grades 4 and up.
Learn New Words Using Context http://www.learnnc.org/ lessons/ BettyDeluca5232002364 With guided practice students will use context clues to
Feature Story Dinos in the Dark Stories for Students (and Teachers)!
This nonfiction article is written for use with upper-elementary students (grades 4-5). Two modified versions are available for students in grades K-1 and grades 2-3. As always, consider the reading level and needs of your students when selecting a version for classroom use. In this article, your students can learn about adaptations that allowed dinosaurs to survive in cold and dark polar environments. Printable pdf files allow you to print this story in either text or a foldable book format. A new partnership with Content Clips has allowed us to create electronic versions of the articles. Your students can read along as they listen to the text - a wonderful way to support struggling readers! Related activities provide tips for integrating this story with your science and literacy instruction. The article also provides an opportunity for students to practice using context clues to define vocabulary terms. Lessons and online tutorials listed in the Related Activities section provide instruction and support for students as they learn to identify and use context clues. Interested in other nonfiction articles for your students? Browse all twenty sets from the Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears collection on our Stories for Students page!
By Stephen Whitt When you think of dinosaurs and where they lived, what do you picture? Do you see hot, steamy swamps, thick jungles, or sunny plains? Dinosaurs lived in those places, yes. But did you know that some dinosaurs lived in the cold and the darkness near the North and South Poles? This surprised scientists, too. Paleontologists used to believe that dinosaurs lived only in the warmest parts of the world. They thought that dinosaurs could only have lived in places where turtles, crocodiles, and snakes live today. Later, these dinosaur scientists began finding bones in surprising places.
One of those surprising fossil beds is a place called Dinosaur Cove, Australia. One hundred million years ago, Australia was connected to Antarctica. Both continents were located near the South Pole. Today, paleontologists dig dinosaur fossils out of the ground. They think about what those ancient bones must mean. What was the climate like at Dinosaur Cove then? It was cold! The average temperature was probably around 30 degrees F. The weather would have been like the weather in
Feature Story southern Alaska. How could dinosaurs have lived in such cold temperatures? And that's not all. Dinosaur Cove was located near the South Pole. This means that for several months each year, the Sun never rose. Instead, Dinosaur Cove was plunged into a dark, cold winter night that didnâ€™t end until the spring or summer. GO OR STAY? In other parts of the world, dinosaurs probably migrated away from the winter's darkness. But the animals at Dinosaur Cove lived on a peninsula of land. They were blocked to the north by a huge lake. To the south and east was the ocean. The only way out was to the west, but it was too far for most of the animals at Dinosaur Cove to migrate. So they couldn't travel each year when the long night came. To survive, these dinosaurs had to adapt. How did they change over time? Imagine you are a dinosaur at Dinosaur Cove. If you happen to have larger eyes, you will have a better chance of surviving than will a dinosaur with small eyes because you can see in the dark. Your children will probably have big eyes, too. As time goes by, there will be more and more dinosaurs with bigger eyes.
Big eyes helped the dinosaurs see evergreen trees in the darkness. Since these trees didn't lose their needles in the winter, they were food for the plant-eating dinosaurs. Big eyes also helped the dinosaurs watch out for predators that would have hunted them. DINO BLOOD? Even with big eyes, though, the dinosaurs at Dinosaur Cove faced another problem â€“ the cold. Turtles, snakes, and crocodiles are all reptiles. Almost all of them live in the warmer parts of the world, and for good reason. Their bodies donâ€™t produce their own heat, so they stay the same temperature as their surroundings. We say these animals are "cold-blooded," but their blood doesn't have to be cold. It's just as warm as the air or water around them. If reptiles get too cold, they become sluggish and slow.
Illustration courtesy of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears.
Some paleontologists wonder if maybe dinosaurs were more like birds than reptiles. If dinosaurs were "warm-blooded" like birds, then they could have made their own heat. That would explain how dinosaurs might have survived through the cold, dark winters at Dinosaur Cove. THE LAST DINOSAURS? But that brings up another mystery. Most paleontologists think the dinosaurs died out because the world got very cold very quickly. Maybe a giant rock from space (an asteroid) slammed into Earth and threw up a cloud of dust. Or maybe ash from volcanoes blocked out the Sun. Either way, the world became too cold for the dinosaurs to survive. But what if some dinosaurs could survive cold polar winters?
Feature Story Could they also survive on a colder planet? What if the descendents of the animals at Dinosaur Cove survived the extinction? Could they have been the last dinosaurs on Earth? The wonderful thing about science is that each new answer creates more questions. Maybe one day you will become a paleontologist and travel to the coldest parts of the world to search for the bones of Earth’s last dinosaurs. Be sure to pack a sweater! RELATED ACTIVITIES These lessons and activities can help you integrate this article into your science and literacy instruction. For additional ideas, please see Learning About Fossils Through Hands-On Science and Literacy on page 21.
Dinosaur Skeletons 2. Photo courtesy of xameron, Stock.xchng.
DINOSAURS • Dinosaur Unit http://www.sedl.org/scimath/ pasopartners/dinosaurs/ welcome.html This unit includes seven lessons about dinosaurs, including extinction, fossils, types of dinosaurs, meat and plant eaters, life cycle, and change. The lessons integrate science, language, math, and art through literature, activities, and centers. Spanish translations are also provided. This unit is designed for students in grades K-2. • Discovering Dinosaurs http:// school.discoveryeducation.co m/lessonplans/programs/tlcdinosaurs/index.html In this lesson, students examine images of dinosaur remains and tracks and make
inferences about the dinosaurs represented. This lesson helps students understand the nature of scientific theory and how scientists can interpret fossil evidence in different ways. This lesson is designed for students in grades 3-5. CONTEXT CLUES • Text Talk: Julius, the Baby of the World http:// www.readwritethink.org/ classroom-resources/lessonplans/text-talk-juliusbaby-25.html The importance of reading aloud to children is a long established tenet of reading instruction. This lesson supports the language development and reading comprehension of kindergarten through second graders. Through the use of
Dinosaur Bones. Photo courtesy of kfawcett, Stock.xchng.
Feature Story the text talk strategy, students explain, develop, and expand upon story ideas. This lesson is designed to help students learn how to gain meaning from decontextualized language. • Acquiring New Vocabulary Through Book Discussion Groups http:// www.readwritethink.org/ classroom-resources/lessonplans/acquiring-vocabularythrough-book-170.html This lesson explores various ways in which you can foster students' vocabulary skills through direct instruction and small-group discussions. While reading the text Pink and Say by Patricia Polacco, students identify words that are unfamiliar to them. Working collaboratively in small groups, they discuss the meaning of
these new words using context clues from the text, prior knowledge, and print and online resources. They then apply their knowledge of the new vocabulary to further their understanding of the text. This particular lesson can be modified and reused for other areas of the curriculum, with moderate preparation and researching of topic-related resources. Extensions are included to further expand vocabulary acquisition and reading comprehension. This lesson is designed for students in grades 3-5. • Learn New Words Using Context http://www.learnnc.org/ lessons/ BettyDeluca5232002364 With guided practice students will use context clues to determine meaning of
Tarbosaurus Museum Muenster. Photo courtesy of Thomas Ihle, Wikimedia Commons.
unfamiliar words in short passages. When students have completed the practice activities, they will read a newspaper or magazine article, picking out unfamiliar words and using context clues to decide what the word means. As a group activity they will share the article, the words, and their meanings with the class. This lesson is designed for students in grades 4 and up. • Context Clues (Learning Upgrade) http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=qgaSmJKR9HM This animated video teaches students how to use context clues to define new vocabulary.
Dinosaur Skeletons. Photo courtesy of xameron, Stock.xchng.
Misconceptions Common Misconceptions About Fossils and the History of the Polar Regions By Jessica Fries-Gaither Misconceptions about scientific concepts have been documented in all fields of science, including polar science. The frequent use of polar images in advertisements and entertainment means that students come to school with previously developed notions of penguins, polar bears, the Arctic, and Antarctica. Best practice in science teaching means uncovering misconceptions, probing for student ideas, and using this information to design lessons.
Fossil; Trilobites. Photo courtesy of dyet, Stock.xchng.
In this issue of Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears, we're examining how the fossil and archaeological record of the polar regions informs us about their past through geologic time. In keeping with our theme, we've highlighted some common misconceptions about the history of the polar regions and about fossils in general. We've also noted the difficulty of teaching concepts relating to geologic time to elementaryaged students.
MISCONCEPTIONS Polar History Misconceptions • Polar regions have always been cold and isolated. • Polar regions are static, do not change, and are not vulnerable to change. Fossil Misconceptions • Fossils are pieces of dead animals and plants. • Fossils of tropical plants cannot be found in cold or dry areas. • Fossils only represent bones and shells of extinct animals. Soft tissue can never be fossilized. Geologic Time and the Elementary Student • Geologic time is not commonly taught at the elementary level. However, when teaching about dinosaurs, fossils, and basic history of the earth, it is not uncommon for elementary teachers to be asked how old an object is. While we encourage teachers to provide accurate information to their students, it is important to remember that students at this age are concrete thinkers. Despite the inclusion of numbers in the hundred thousands and millions in the third- and fourth-grade math curricula, most students simply do not have a real grasp of the magnitude of these numbers.
Misconceptions In all likelihood, a student will accept the fact that a fossil is just "really old." PROBING FOR STUDENT UNDERSTANDING Formative assessment can help you uncover your students' misconceptions about the polar regions. Three books from the National Science Teachers Association, Uncovering Student Ideas in Science, Volumes 1, 2, and 3 (NSTA Press), explain the use of formative assessment in the classroom. Each volume contains 25 ready-made probes for teacher use across many grade levels. With permission from NSTA Press, we’ve followed the model used by Page Keeley and coauthors in these books and created our own probe to assess your students' ideas about fossils.
Is It a Fossil? Probe and Teacher Notes http://onramp.nsdl.org/eserv/ onramp:370/ apr08_fossil_probe.pdf This probe assesses student ideas about fossils and how fossils can be interpreted to provide information about past environments. Interactive Fossil Sort http://rs1.contentclips.com/ ipy/fwd/ ipy_0804_act_1_64.html The first part of our formative assessment probe asks students to classify a variety of objects as fossils or nonfossils. This interactive sort, created by Content Clips, allows students to examine photographs of these objects. Students then sort the objects by dragging the images into one of two columns (Fossil and Not a Fossil).
Looking for fossilized leaves. LEWIS_ASHWORTH. Photo courtesy of Peter Rejcek, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
[…] We're examining how the fossil and archaeological record of the polar regions informs us about their past through geologic time.
Teachers can print student work and use an answer key to assess their students' knowledge of fossils. This activity requires Adobe Flash, which can be downloaded for free from the Adobe web site. Teachers also need to turn off the pop-up blocker before using this activity.
Arctic Fossils. Photo courtesy of Mila Zinkova, Wikimedia Commons.
Misconceptions Content Clips is an interactive web environment designed to help K-12 teachers supplement their curriculum with compelling online resources and activities. By creating a free account, you can save resources and activities (such as the fossil sort) to your own collection. You can also create your own interactive activities to use in your classroom. If you follow the links to the electronic books listed above, you will enter the site as a guest and will not be able to save them to your own collection. If you wish to save these stories in your own collection, create an account, login, and then search for "fossil." TEACHING THE CONCEPTS A post from our Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears blog
discusses targeting misconceptions and provides links to science and literacy lesson plans and activities. Learning About Antarctica's Past http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/ polar/2008/01/22/learningabout-antarcticas-past/ This post discusses the misconception that Antarctica has always been cold and snowy and provides ideas for teaching, student reading, and literacy connections. For more ideas on teaching about the fossils, please refer to Learning About Fossils Through Hands-On Science and Literacy on page 21.
NATIONAL SCIENCE EDUCATION STANDARDS: SCIENCE CONTENT STANDARDS Targeting student misconceptions about fossils and the history of the polar regions primarily meets Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. Read the entire National Science Education Standards online for free or register to download the free PDF. The content standards are found in Chapter 6, http:// books.nap.edu/openbook.php? record_id=4962&page=103.
Check out Volumes 1, 2 & 3 of Uncovering Student Ideas in Science at: http://www.nsta.org/store/ product_detail.aspx? id=10.2505/9780873552554 http://www.nsta.org/store/ product_detail.aspx? id=10.2505/9780873552738
Wooden boxes full of fossils and rock samples gathered in the Transantarctic Mountains. Photo courtesy of Kristan Hutchison, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
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Across the Curriculum: Lessons What’s the Difference? Activities to Teach Paleontology and Archaeology By Jessica Fries-Gaither In the article, Learning about Fossils through Hands-on Science and Literacy, see page 21, we feature integrated lessons about fossils. Though not a true cross-curricular connection, paleontology (the study of prehistoric life forms, including dinosaurs) is a related
– and engaging – subject for elementary students and often included in lessons and units. We've highlighted two lessons that integrate art with the study of dinosaurs, two interactive pages that allow students to explore a virtual dinosaur exhibit and simulate paleontological digs, and two resources for simulating digs in the classroom. A similar - and often confused discipline is archaeology, which is typically included in social studies. As students come to understand how archaeologists locate and interpret artifacts from past cultures, they can also
PALEONTOLOGY AND DINOSAURS Dig This! A Relief Sculpture of Dinosaur Bones for Elementary Students (Grades K-5) http://www.amaco.com/pdfs/Lesson05.pdf This lesson plan details the process of creating a relief sculpture of a dinosaur skeleton in clay. The bones can then be buried and excavated as a simulated paleontological dig. Dinosaurs (Grades 3-5) http://paleobiology.si.edu/dinosaurs/index.html This interactive page, from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, provides interactive resources about dinosaurs. In addition to content reading about dinosaurs, fieldwork, and misconceptions, the interactive Virtual Tour allows students to explore a virtual dinosaur exhibit. The Virtual Dinosaur Dig simulates a paleontological dig and how the specimen is transported back to the museum and studied.
see archaeology as a way to explore the past of the Arctic region (see Geologic Time, Fossils, and Archaeology: Content Knowledge for Teachers on page 3. We've featured interactive sites that invite students to explore the discipline as well as lesson plans for simulating digs, interpreting artifacts, and making inferences about past civilizations and cultures.
Paleontology: The Big Dig (Grades 3-5) http://www.amnh.org/ology/paleontology/ This interactive site, from the American Museum of Natural History, contains several activities that teach students about paleontology. The activity Layers of Time will complement lessons in the Science and Literacy department dealing with stratigraphy and how paleontologists determine the relative age of fossils. Other activities include explorations of Mongolia and the Gobi desert, and Beyond T. Rex. PaleoCookie Dig (Grades 1-3; can be used with grades 4-5) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/ Heindel2.html Students simulate a paleontology/archaeology excavation using bar cookies. Students are introduced to the grid system used in excavations and create a bar graph to represent their findings.
Across the Curriculum: Lessons Layer-Cake Earth (Grades 3-5; can be modified for K-2) http://learningcenter.nsta.org/ product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/ sc06_044_04_41 This article, from the National Science Teachers Association's magazine Science and Children, explains how to use a layer cake to create a hands-on activity in which students take core samples, locate fossils, and investigate concepts relating to geologic sampling. Fossils Rock! Tales From the Field http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/ lessons/17/g35/smfossilsrock.html What is it like to work as a paleontologist? In Activity 1, students listen to or read an interview with paleontologist Paul Sereno, a National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence, to learn about his passion for science and his discovery of SuperCroc in sub-Saharan Africa. In Activity 2, students join a dig with paleontologist Mike Everhart to learn what happens when a scientist in the field suddenly discovers fossil remains. In the Closing Activity, students create a story or conduct an interview and present or record their work for an imaginary radio program. How Do Scientists Find Dinosaur Fossils? http://www.nationalgeographic.com/xpeditions/ lessons/17/g35/serenofossils.html Students have probably already studied dinosaurs in school, but they may not have learned much about the process by which paleontologists locate, excavate, and study dinosaurs. This lesson asks them to find out about this process and to write journal entries pretending they are on a dinosaur dig.
ARCHAEOLOGY Archaeology: Clues From the Past (Grades 3-5) http://www.amnh.org/ology/archaeology/ This interactive site, from the American Museum of Natural History, contains several activities that teach students about archaeology. Activities include: Inca Investigation, the Ancient City of Petra, Up Close With a Zapotec Urn, Tools of the Trade, Meet the "ologists," and activities that donâ€™t involve a computer. Archaeological Institute: Lesson Plans: Simulated Digs (K-5) http://www.archaeological.org/education/ lessons/simulateddigs This page provides links to four lesson plans for elementary appropriate simulated digs: a layer cake dig (K-2), a transparent shoebox dig (K-2), a shoebox dig (grades 3-5), and a schoolyard dig (grades 3-5). The page also includes photographs, record sheets, and a list of resources and national standards addressed in these activities. PBS Arctic Journeys: Explorations (Grades 3-5) http://www.pbs.org/beringlandbridge/ explorations/index.html This interactive site is based on an electronic field trip, but any class can use the site independently. Designed for students in grades 4-9, the site includes an Artifact Challenge where students guess the purpose of various Arctic artifacts. Searching for the Past challenges students to distinguish between observations and inferences. Arctic Studies Center (Grades 1-5) http://www.mnh.si.edu/arctic/index.html This site from the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has an online collection of artifacts from various indigenous people of the north: Yup'ik, Alaskan Native, Viking, and Ainu.
Science & Literacy: Lessons Learning About Fossils Through Hands-on Science and Literacy By Jessica Fries-Gaither An effective unit on fossils involves developing concepts in a logical and sequential manner. Students should first understand what a fossil is, the differences between fossils and other natural objects, and that not all plants and animals become fossilized. Next, students learn about the various types of fossils and model the process of fossilization. Finally, students can model the excavation process and use fossils to make inferences about past environments.
Our featured lessons integrate science and literacy through the activities themselves and through lesson extensions. These lessons have been designed for upper-elementary students, but can be easily modified to include primary students as well.
Though not explicitly addressed in all lessons, children’s literature is a perfect complement to the hands-on activities featured here. Use our suggested titles (see the Virtual Bookshelf on page 26) or your own favorites to start the unit, or intersperse them throughout.
We’ve subdivided the lessons into four categories: What is a fossil? How do fossils form? How do people find fossils? and What can we learn from fossils?
For each science lesson, we've included the appropriate National Science Education Standards. You can read the entire National Science Education Standards online for free or register to download the free PDF. The content standards are found in Chapter 6, http:// books.nap.edu/openbook.php? record_id=4962&page=103.
The categories and lessons are listed in a sequential order. Although each lesson is written as an independent entity, taking one lesson out of the larger sequence may lessen the impact on student learning. Therefore, we recommend using as many lessons as possible in the suggested order.
WHAT IS A FOSSIL? Fossilization and Adaptation: Activities in Paleontology (Grades 2-5; modify for K-1) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/ Breithaupt2.html This page includes several different activities. Activity II, the fossilization game, asks students to take on roles as a variety of different organisms in environments. At various points during the activity, the teacher "freezes" time and has students draw cards to determine if they become fossils or not. The activity helps students understand that not all organisms become fossilized.
• Literacy Integration: After playing the fossilization game, students could write a story describing what happened to their organisms and whether or not they became a fossil. Stories could be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar, http://rubistar. 4teachers.org/index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1528279& • Suggested modifications for grades K-1: Use the cards and information provided to create a story beforehand and read it to students. Students could illustrate events to create a class book. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry 21
Science & Literacy: Lessons and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. Identify and Compare Fossils (Grades 3-5; modify for K-2) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=10287 In this lesson plan, students examine a variety of items and classify them as a "fossil" or "not a fossil." • Literacy Integration: Students could select one of the fossils from the activity and draw or describe it in their science notebook or journal. These descriptions could be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1528265& • Suggested modifications for grades K-2: Complete the activity as a class. A teacher or volunteer could record students' descriptions if needed.
This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. HOW DO FOSSILS FORM? Fossil Formation Fun (Grades 3-5; modify for K-2) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=18978 The activities in this lesson will help students compare and understand the three types of fossils: preserved organisms, mineral replacement fossils, and impression fossils. A related lesson, Simulating Fossil Formations (see http://www.uen.org/ Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=10288), includes trace and cast and mold fossils. It also provides directions for using gelatin and gummy candies to simulate preserved organisms. Combining the activities in the two lessons makes for a more complete set of activities. • Literacy Integration: Students are asked to draw and describe fossils and to explain fossilization in several of the hands-on activities. These journal entries could be assessed with a rubric or checklist. In the lesson, students read and retell the expository lesson in pairs. An included retell form may be used to assess comprehension. • Suggested modifications for grades K-2: Complete the survey orally or as a class. Use a scribe to record student observations as needed.
Wrapping fossils in rags for the voyage to the U.S. Photo courtesy of Kristan Hutchison, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
Use the fossil simulations as whole-class demonstrations, center activities, or in small groups with an aide or volunteer.
Science & Literacy: Lessons Substitute an appropriate trade book (see our Virtual Bookshelf on page 26 for suggested titles) in place of the expository article. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. Examining Your Fossil (Grades 3-5; modify for grades K-2) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=10291 With a hand lens, students will look at the fossils they made previously and come up with conclusions about the fossils. They will record what they see and draw conclusions about the environment of the fossil. â€˘ Literacy Integration: Students answer questions and make observations in their science notebook or journal. Observations can be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar: http://rubistar. 4teachers.org/index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1528279&. A lesson extension involves writing a fictional story about a fossil chosen by the student. The story involves the use of content vocabulary and the elements of stories (beginning, middle, and end). Stories could be assessed with a rubric. â€˘ Suggested modifications for grades K-2: Interview students about their fossil after students examine it. A teacher or scribe could record student responses from the oral interview. To support students in the transition from drawing to writing, use Drawing a Story: Stepping from Pictures to Writing (http:// www.readwritethink.org/classroom-resources/
Taking a break from hunting for fossils on Seymour Island. FOSSILFINDERS. Photo courtesy of Kurtis Burmeister, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
lesson-plans/draw-story-stepping-from-45.html), a lesson from ReadWriteThink. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. Fossil Footsteps (Grades 3-5; modify for grades K-2) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=11137 After studying photos of dinosaur tracks, students will create their own tracks using clay. In addition, students will compose a story about the dinosaur or other animal that created the tracks. A related lesson, Dinosaur Tracks (http://www.uen.org/ Lessonplan/preview.cgi?LPid=9972), involves student observation and analysis of a diagram of tracks. It could be used as a follow-up activity or assessment.
Science & Literacy: Lessons • Literacy Integration: Students work cooperatively with a small group to create a story about their tracks. Stories can be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1528279&. • Suggested modifications for grades K-2: Complete the activity as a class. Write one collective story and display it in the classroom. After writing a story as a class, have each student illustrate one page. Give each student a copy of the finished work. To support students in the transition from drawing to writing, use Drawing a Story: Stepping from Pictures to Writing, a lesson from ReadWriteThink, http://www.readwritethink.org/ classroom-resources/lesson-plans/draw-storystepping-from-45.html. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science.
This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. HOW DO PEOPLE FIND FOSSILS? The two lessons described in this section are written for students in grades 1-5. Students in kindergarten could model excavation with a stream table, kiddie pool, or individual bar cookies or cupcakes. For these young students, the focus should be on exploration and the fact that scientists dig up fossils carefully. Paleo Cookie Dig (Grades 1-3; can be used with grades 4-5) http://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/fosrec/ Heindel2.html Students simulate a paleontology/archaeology excavation using bar cookies. Students are introduced to the grid system used in excavations and create a bar graph to represent their findings. • Literacy Integration: Students could compare and contrast their quadrant with that of a partner. Students could use procedural writing to describe the excavation process. Procedural writing can be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1122953&. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12.
Vertebraria fossil. TOMTAYLORANDPABLO. Photo courtesy of Kristan Hutchison, U.S. Antarctic Program, National Science Foundation.
Layer-Cake Earth (Grades 3-5; can be modified for K-2) http://learningcenter.nsta.org/ product_detail.aspx?id=10.2505/4/ sc06_044_04_41 This article, from the National Science Teachers Association's magazine Science and Children,
Science & Literacy: Lessons explains how to use a layer cake to create a hands-on activity in which students take core samples, locate fossils, and investigate concepts relating to geologic sampling. • Literacy Integration: The article includes extension questions which can be answered in science notebooks or journals. Students can also draw their group's core sample, label, and describe their findings. Descriptions and drawings can be assessed with a rubric: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1528265&. • Suggested modifications for grades 1-2: Cupcakes would allow for individual participation. Modify the core description so students draw and describe their sample. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. WHAT CAN WE LEARN FROM FOSSILS? The two lessons described in this section are designed for students in grades 3-5. Teachers of grades K-2 can use class discussions during other activities to support students in understanding that fossils can help scientists understand what the world was like long ago. Fossil Inferences (Grades 3-5) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=16319 Students will use their knowledge about fossils to arrange fossil pictures in sequence from oldest to youngest. • Literacy Integration: This lesson relies heavily on the idea of sequencing. Teachers could integrate this activity with a study of procedural writing and words that
indicate order (first, second, next). Students could practice using these words to describe the order of the fossils orally or in writing. Procedural writing can be assessed with a rubric like this one from RubiStar: http://rubistar.4teachers.org/ index.php? screen=ShowRubric&rubric_id=1122953&. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12. Fossils (Grades 3-5) http://www.uen.org/Lessonplan/preview.cgi? LPid=16320 Students will act as paleontologists and attempt to figure out the environment where various fossils would have existed. • Literacy Integration: This lesson relies heavily on students’ ability to make inferences. Teachers could integrate this activity with reading lessons that focus on drawing inferences from text. Students can record their inferences and evidence using a graphic organizer or in a science notebook or journal. Lesson extensions involve writing a poem about fossils or a newspaper story about the discovery of a fossil and its environment. This lesson meets the National Science Education Standards Content Standard A: Science as Inquiry and Content Standard D: Earth and Space Science. This lesson meets NCTE/IRA English Language Arts standards: 4, 5, 6, 7, 12.
Off The Bookshelf Learning From the Polar Past: Virtual Bookshelf By Kate Hastings The Virtual Bookshelf provides a list of recommended children's books that reflect the theme of the issue and offers ideas on how to integrate them across the curriculum. Children's fascination with dinosaurs and fossils seem to start as soon as they can talk! Here at Upper Arlington Public Library, it's amazing how many four and five year-olds can pronounce Dromiceiomimus
(pronounced: dro-MEE-see-oMYE-mus) or other intimidating species! Their fascination with these giant beasts doesn't end when they start school - maybe because the most appealing part of these creatures is the mystery that surrounds them. Fossils are just as intriguing. Who hasn't felt the power of curiosity and wonder upon discovering a fossilized shell or sea creature in a place that is far away from an ocean? This month, we're focusing on polar dinosaurs and fossils clues to past environments very different than what we know today. We've highlighted books in eight categories: Inferences
in Language, Fossils, Dinosaurs, Paleontology, Archaeology, Mammoths, Geologic Time, and Penguins and Polar Bears. Classroom tips are provided for each category, and, in some cases, individual books. The informative, engaging text and compelling illustrations and photographs will entice students to learn more about the past. Fossils are everywhere. Paleontologists and archaeologists were once kids, too - just read about Mary Anning. Which one of your students will be next?
INFERENCES IN LANGUAGE Use these titles to help younger students learn to make inferences from textual clues.
Thesaurus Rex. Laya Steinberg. 2003. Picture book. Recommended ages: Grades K-2. Children can use their knowledge of rhyming words to guess the final word on each two-page spread.
Detective Dinosaur. James Skofield. 1996. Easy reader. Recommended ages: Grades K-2. Three mysteries for youngsters to solve - children can use clues to guess where the missing hat is, why the shoe is squeaking, and what the mysterious clanging sound in the dark alley might be.
Off The Bookshelf FOSSILS Use these books to accompany the lessons and activities about fossils highlighted in this issue (see Learning About Fossils Through Hands-on Science and Literacy on page 21).
Fossils. Melissa Stewart. 2003. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-4. The author explains that trace fossils of plants, footprints, burrows, and even feces (called coprolites) help scientists learn about where animals lived and what they ate. Fossils of ocean animals are the easiest to find because air could not reach the dead plants and animals, but tar, sap and mud have helped to preserve land plants and animals.
Fossils. Sally M. Walker. 2007. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 3-5. Fossils are more than just dinosaur bones. Learn how shells, fish, leaves, footprints, petrified wood and even mammoth hair are turned into fossils. The difference between fossil casts and molds is explained. The final two chapters discuss the difficulty of finding certain types of fossils and why scientists study fossils - one important reason being that fossils give clues to climate and weather changes on Antarctica and other continents.
DINOSAURS Use these titles to introduce the concept of making inferences from fossilized evidence. Even though scientists have learned a great deal from fossilized dinosaur remains, there's still a lot to be learned - and incorrect ideas to be corrected!
Did Dinosaurs Eat Pizza? Lenny Hort. 2006. Picture book. Recommended ages: Grades K-2. What color were dinosaurs? Did they make sounds? There are a lot of questions scientists still don't know about dinosaurs.
Prehistoric Actual Size. Steve Jenkins. 2005. Picture Book. Recommended ages K-5. This oversize book will be fun to share with students and will help them conceptualize how big some prehistoric animals really were. Cut-paper collages and fold-out pages bring velociraptors and many lesser-known beasts to life. This book can be the springboard for a collage art project, or used to introduce the idea of scale to older students.
Off The Bookshelf DINOSAURS (CONTINUED) Boy, Were We Wrong About Dinosaurs. Kathleen V. Kudlinski. 2005. Picture book.Â Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. New discoveries have given us better guesses as to how dinosaurs lived.
Science Works Monster Bones: The Story of a Dinosaur Fossil. Jacqui Bailey. 2003. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. Comic strip-like illustrations show the process of a dinosaur being fossilized, discovered and reassembled, complete with humorous remarks from the extinct Coelophysis. Don't worry, there's a note on how to pronounce it!
PALEONTOLOGY Use these books to introduce paleontology to your students before conducting a simulated dig, such as the ones described in What's the Difference? Activities to Teach Paleontology and Archaeology on page 19.
Dinosaur Dig! Susan H. Gray. 2007. Nonfiction easy reader. Recommended ages: K-3. This Scholastic News easy reader highlights the process of setting up a dig and recovering dinosaur fossils. Photographs enhance seven vocabulary words, which students are asked to "hunt" for in the text (a glossary included). Dinosaur Hunter. Elaine Marie Alphin. 2003. Easy reader. Recommended ages: K-2. A fictional account of a boy who finds the remains of a triceratops on his father's ranch. Conflict with rival dinosaur hunters adds to the suspense. A historical note about fossil wars is given.
Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning. Laurence Anholt. 2006. Picture book. Recommended ages: Grades K-5. Based on the true story of Mary Anning - who discovered her first dinosaur at the age of 12 on the cliffs of Dorset, England, in 1812. Her father took her to the cliffs as a young girl to show her the imprints of shells and leaves in the rocks. Fossil hunting became a lifelong passion and an unusual occupation for a woman during that time in history. A good tie-in for Women's History Month and career exploration.
Off The Bookshelf PALEONTOLOGY (CONTINUED) Mysteries of the Fossil Dig: How Paleontologists Learn About Dinosaurs. Pamela Rushby. 2006. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. Rushby tells how dinosaur bones are excavated, mapped, transported, cleaned, and eventually cast and made into exhibits. Too small to share with large groups, this book will be best used for reports and individual reading.
Dinosaurs! Battle of the Bones. Sharon Siamon. 2007. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-4. One of the most productive dig sites for dinosaur bones is located in Red Deer Valley, in Alberta, Canada. In the 1900s as news spread about the dinosaur bones found there, paleontologists rushed to the valley to see who could find the most amazing skeletons for their museums.
ARCHAEOLOGY Use these books to introduce paleontology to your students before conducting a simulated dig, such as the ones described in What's the Difference? Activities to Teach Paleontology and Archaeology on page 19.
Archaeologists Dig for Clues. Kate Duke. 1997. Nonfiction book.Â Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. This book uses cartoons and dialogue to track the archaeological process - how a dig is set up and organized, archaeologists' tools, and the kinds of artifacts found. Sidebars pose questions like "If they looked in our garbage can, what would people in the future learn about us?" A classroom tie-in might be a time capsule.
Archaeologists. Rose Inserra. 2004. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 4-5. A great introduction to archaeology, the history of the field, and case studies. Relative and actual dating techniques are discussed. Other features are an interview with an archaeologist, activity suggestions, including a garbage study and field survey, maps and photographs. A variety of organizational techniques and writing styles makes the book useful when discussing how authors organize and present information.
Off The Bookshelf MAMMOTHS Dinosaurs aren't the only remains found in the Arctic - wooly mammoths lived there during the last ice age. These two books provide information about mammoths, their mummified remains, and insight into how scientists learn from these fossils.
Outside and Inside Wooly Mammoths. Sandra Markle. 2007. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. Mammoth remains discovered in the Arctic have taught us a lot about conditions during the last ice age. Mummified mammoths help us learn what they ate, what color their hair was, and how they walked. Tusk rings also give clues about the general nutrition available throughout their life. Their large heart pumped massive amounts of warm blood throughout their body which may have become problematic as the earth warmed. Great photos and comparisons with modern elephants.
History Hunters: Frozen Mammoth. Dougal Dixon. 2004. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 4-6. Dixon wrote this book as letters between scientists who are exchanging information about the discovery of mammoth mummies. Many of the frozen mummies have been discovered by native people in Siberia as the permafrost thaws. The mummies must be recovered before they rot.
GEOLOGICAL TIME Geologic time is not addressed in elementary science curricula but is inextricably linked with the concepts of fossils, dinosaurs, and paleontology. Both books could be included in a learning center or classroom library and used with interested students.
Earth's Crust. Conrad Storad. 2007. Nonfiction book. Recommended ages: Grades 2-5. Simple text and short chapters explain the composition of our planet, and the turbulence of earth's crust. Photographs, diagrams and maps show students where continental plates are being formed and where they are colliding.
The Big Rock. Bruce Hiscock. 1988. Nonfiction picture book. Recommended ages: Grades 3-5. A giant boulder sits on a hillside in New York State. How did it get there? Trace the formation of the rock from volcanoes to prehistoric oceans to mountain top earthquakes, and finally a bulldozer glacier.
Off The Bookshelf PENGUINS AND POLAR BEARS Tacky the Penguin. Helen Lester. 1988. Picture book. Recommended ages: K-2. Tacky is an unusual penguin in a Hawaiian shirt that trips when he marches and does cannonball jumps into the ocean. When trappers come to Antarctica with maps and traps and rocks and locks to capture penguins to sell, only Tacky can save the day! A story about respecting differences to share during studies of Antarctica, wintertime, or any time. Note: This book is not meant to be scientifically accurate. Students could compare/contrast this book with a nonfiction text about penguins.
Polar Bear Night. Lauren Thompson. 2004. Picture book. Recommended ages: K-2. The story of a polar bear cub as he ventures out of his mother's snow den and into the night where he sees seals sleeping as they bob at the surface, whales coming up for air, and the clear night sky with falling stars. The illustrations are simple and perfect for quietly sharing with groups. This book can be used to introduce the concept of adjectives and descriptive language to younger students.
Why Use Childrenâ€™s Literature? Linking science instruction to children's literature has become increasingly popular in recent years for a variety of reasons: the literature connection motivates students, provokes interest, helps students connect scientific ideas to their personal experiences, accommodates children with different learning styles, and promotes critical thinking. Whatever the reason, we know that books about science can capture even the most reluctant readers and writers. Students are naturally drawn to the colorful photographs and layouts of nonfiction science texts. Using science books allow teachers to meet their reading and writing goals while filling a need to teach more science. Teachers can use books as a starting point for meaningful classroom discussions; some teachers even begin class by reading a poem or a picture book aloud, simply for the enjoyment of the literature. Some teachers project the book onto a screen so the class can read the text together. Picture books make wonderful writing prompts and can provoke good journal writing. Interdisciplinary thematic units can be broadened by use of children's literature. Youâ€™ll notice that most of our selected books are nonfiction. We believe that elementary students need exposure to this genre to set a compelling purpose for reading and to become familiar with the text structures used in expository and informational text. Reading nonfiction trade books also supplements scientific investigations and helps students connect hands-on experiences with abstract concepts. In other cases, the text provides valuable information that cannot be gained through hands-on experience. Finally, nonfiction books can serve as mentor texts, providing models after which students can pattern their own writing.
Abo u t U s Beyond Penguins and Polar BearsÂ is an online professional development magazine for elementary teachers. It prepares teachers to integrate high-quality science instruction with literacy teaching. The magazine is available for free at http://beyondpenguins.nsdl.org. Twenty thematic issues link polar science concepts to the scope and sequence of elementary science curricula. The result is a resource that includes issues devoted to day and night, seasons, plants and mammals, erosion, and other physical, earth and space, and life science concepts. Some issues are also interdisciplinary, focusing on polar explorers, the indigenous people of the Arctic, and the challenges of doing science in the polar regions. To browse the complete archive of issues, visit http://beyondpenguins.nsdl.org/archive.php. Other project features include a companion blog (http://expertvoices.nsdl.org/polar) about polar news and research, a polar photo gallery (http://beyondpenguins.nsdl.org/photogallery/index.php) and a podcast series (http://beyondpenguins.nsdl.org/podcast/index.php). Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is funded by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024 and is produced by an interdisciplinary team from Ohio State University (OSU), College of Education and Human Ecology; the Ohio Resource Center (ORC) for Mathematics, Science, and Reading; the Byrd Polar Research Center; COSI (Center for Science and Industry) Columbus; the Upper Arlington Public Library (UAPL); and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL) Core Integration team at Cornell University and University Corporation for Atmospheric Research (UCAR).
Copyright October 2010. Beyond Penguins and Polar Bears is produced by an interdisciplinary team from Ohio State University (OSU), College of Education and Human Ecology; the Ohio Resource Center (ORC) for Mathematics, Science, and Reading; the Byrd Polar Research Center; COSI (Center for Science and Industry) Columbus; the Upper Arlington Public Library (UAPL); and the National Science Digital Library (NSDL). This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. 0733024. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. Content in this document is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Printed version layout and design by Margaux Baldridge, Office of Technology and Enhanced Learning, College of Education and Human Ecology, The Ohio State University. For more information email: email@example.com.