I can explain the importance of fossils and describe what we learn from them.

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In this lesson, students learn what fossils are and how they are found. They will be asked to work like a paleontologist and examine organisms that have left behind fossils. They will also be shown how the study of fossils has impacted the world of science. The lesson includes a fun word search and gives students the opportunity to use the eraser tool and “dig up” fossils.



Learning Objective

Students will be able to describe how fossils are formed and explain why they are important to our knowledge of Earth’s history.


Have students observe the footprints in the snow and guess which animals they believe left those footprints behind. How do they know? What do they notice? Explain that fossils are similar to footprints! Ask students what they first think of when they hear the word, “fossil.”


Explain what fossils are and show some examples on the board. Try to see if students can guess which animals left these fossils behind. Have students use the eraser tool as a shovel to “dig up” fossils. What can they observe from these fossils? Why do they think scientists can learn from fossils? Explain how fossils are formed. Teach students about the important job of paleontologists and describe some of the tools they use and why. Have students circle the pictures that show tools a paleontologist would use. Next, describe how different fossils form and describe some of the amazing things we can learn about the Earth from fossils. For example, they show us how living things have changed over time. Have a quick check-in with students before completing the word search. After this, go over “living fossils” and show some examples like the ginkgo tree. Finally, describe the different types of fossils like amber fossils, mold fossils, and trace fossils.


Students respond to ten multiple-choice and true or false questions.


Students will write down one thing we can learn by studying fossils. Then they will explain why it is important to learn.

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