Here's a question you can help answer!
What was life like in this part of Illinois 340 million years ago when this rock was being formed?
To make the most of the fossil field trip each student will want to bring certain tools, use your imaginations to think of tools you might need to collect fossils. Use common items, which can be found around the home. Here's a suggested list of things to bring along.
- A copy of the fossil worksheets for each student
- Pen or pencils for optional note taking
- Buckets or bags for collecting rocks/fossils
- Old newspaper for wrapping and protecting specimens
- Old (tooth) brushes for cleaning away dirt/mud
- Water (squirt) bottles for cleaning away dirt/mud
- Magnifying glass
- Hammer and/or chisels for breaking apart rocks
- Safety glasses for those using hammers
- Extra water or other beverage
- Skin/Bug protection
- Safety kit
- Packed lunch
Use these fossil worksheets to guide your fossil collecting and studying. Fossil Worksheets should be used to tally up and decribe the fossils collected. (Print out each sheet and make your own fossil guide to take along on the fossil field trip.)
this rock . . .
Are there any
fossils or other unusual contents? Decribe the fossil or
contents? Shape? Size? Color? Texture? Count and record the
number of fossils you see. Use the fossil worksheets to
Describe this rock . . .
Are there any fossils or other unusual contents? Decribe the fossil or contents? Shape? Size? Color? Texture? Count and record the number of fossils you see. Use the fossil worksheets to assist you.
Index of Fossil Worksheets:
After you have completed your tallies for each Fossil Worksheet, work in groups or as a class to answer these additional questions based upon each groups data.
Agenda with Questions and Needs -- Ellis School
I. Discussion: Student Inquiry and Hypothesis Development
15 minutes Inquiry into student strategies to develop sound hypotheses on the question.
We begin by pointing out how much we appreciate that students are developing detailed pictures of the Vienna site 330 million years ago that begin with a basic hypothesis or hypotheses.Question: What is your hypothesis or hypotheses? Possible Student response: They lived underwater.
Question: Were you able to use our yes or no answers in developing your hypotheses? How? Student response is yes and then unknown, we focus on how groups of yes questions suggest directions for the hypothesis, as does grouping of no questions.
Question: Did you come up with hypotheses that you decided against? How did you decided against them? Student response is yes, then the focus should be on how yes or no answers were used to focus on a usable hypothesis.
Question: What methods did you use to give greater detail to the picture of this site 330 million years ago? Student response: Possible - charts, graphs, drawings, etc.
Follow up question: One of the ways scientists use to get a better picture of what they are studying is to organize the data and specimens, such as fossils, they have collected. How did you organize your data, how did that help give you a better idea of what the site was like 330 million years ago?
30 minutes Students present supporting evidence (specimens, charts, graphs, drawings, etc.) for their best hypothesis or hypotheses. Henson and DeHoet work with students to analyze the presented evidence and relate it to the hypothesis or hypotheses.Questions on specimens, charts, graphs, and drawings focus on the logic of conclusion drawn from the organization of data. What does this mean? Why did you draw the creature in this way?
Questions on numbers will involve makeup (assemblage) of creatures living together at this site 330 million years ago. What do the fossils indicate? What numbers of what types of creatures? Also, talk about estimation where numbers of fossils in the rock could not be easily counted. Also ratios.
Questions may also look at creature sizes - this to give more detail rather than to look at whether big or small is better. Relative size may be considered (big or small compared to what?)
Questions on visual hypotheses (drawings) will focus on the logic of the drawing and its connection to the basic (they lived underwater) assumption and to the fossil specimens on which they are based.
II. Discussion: Student Inquiry and Best Present Science
30 minutes Henson and DeHoet present the hypothesis on the question developed by SIUC scientists and compare this with the student hypothesis or hypotheses.
Focus on the validity of the student's basic hypothesis or hypotheses. Basic information will be given about how scientist have come to the conclusion that fossils in this area are about 330 million years in age.
- Henson and DeHoet show visualizations of fossil creatures found at the site. They hold a guided discussion with students on techniques through which these visualizations are created - comparing and contrasting them with strategies for visualization generated by students in producing their own drawings. Information about the creatures is disseminated as a part of this discussion.
Discussion could focus on one of the most basic techniques for visualization - comparision with similar, living creatures.
- Henson and DeHoet show a visualization of an assemblage of fossil creatures found at the site. They hold a guided discussion with students on techniques through which this visualization was created - comparing and contrasting them with strategies for visualization generated by students in producing their own drawings. Information about these assemblages is disseminated as a part of this discussion.
Discussion could focus on student work and information given out in point a. Many trilobites are hypothesized to have been "bottom feeders" for example, the vacuums of the sea, and are visualized as gliding along the sea floor.
Needs: Powerpoint slide show of individual creatures and assemblage. Images of fossil creatures and similar live creatures (trilobite and horseshoe crab?).
III. School Collaboration Preview
15 minutes The question of the "big" picture of the site is left open. Students are told they can research and develop written and drawn visualizations of the Vienna site that will be valuable when they work with another school 100 miles away that has been working on a question similar to theirs - Ellis Elementary in Belleville, IL.
Students are told that some members of the class will be visiting the site (date to be decided) where Ellis Elementary collected specimens. This will help them in dealing with a new question - "What were the similarities and differences between these two sites 340 million years ago?"
Students are told that all will be in communication with Ellis Elementary via the Internet to come up with their best hypothesis or hypotheses concerning this question.
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