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Keywords: fossils, power point, speaking, research, writing, technology
Subject(s): Information Skills, Technology, Science, Life Science, Writing, Earth Science, English/Language Arts
Grade P-K
NETS-S Standard:
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Research and Information Fluency
  • Technology Operations and Concepts
View Full Text of Standards
School: Sacred Heart School, Danville, VA
Planned By: Sara Gauldin
Original Author: Sara Gauldin, Danville
I am a technology resource teacher for a small, parochial school in Danville, VA. I teach students from Kindergarten through Middle School. My goal is to find ways to help students use technology to apply what they are learning and as a tool to gather and present knowledge. I believe that technology can be sued to open door to students and to help them to achieve success in the classroom and beyond.

Lesson 1: Introducing Fossils
On the SMART board (a regular white board and dry erase marker would work for this as well) the teacher will write the word fossils. Students will be asked to tell something they already know about fossils. The teacher will assess the prior knowledge of the students by adding student responses to the web. The class will discuss each addition to the graphic web.

The Teacher will read aloud the provided passage about fossils:

What is a fossil? The fossils we usually see are stones that have the imprint or impression of a living thing from long ago.
How does a plant or an animal become a stone? Millions of years ago an animal or a plant died. When it died it was in a place where its body was protected from air by falling into a muddy area or a stream. Over time the mud or sand in a stream covered the body.
The soft parts of animals rot away, leaving bones or shells behind. As the animal decomposes, sometimes the area where the flesh was is left empty, making a cast of what the animal once looked like (like using shaped stamp in playdough). Sometimes the bones are slowly replaced by the minerals in the mud and sand and slowly, over thousands of years become stone.
Why is this important? Fossils allow scientists to peek back in time and learn about the plants and animals that lived on Earth long ago.

Students will be given the following questions to set a purpose for their research.
What is a fossil?
Why do we study fossils?
How do fossils form?
Where are fossils found?
Tell about types of fossils.

Students will use the internet to investigate the following sites with the purpose of leaning more about the target questions. The use of headphones is recommended because several of the sites do produce sound. I recommend putting the list of sites into a PDF that can be accessed by the students either one the local device or across the network. This way the student can click the link rather than spending time trying to key in long addresses. Students should be encouraged to write down or to type information that helps them to answer the provided questions.
o https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/what-s-the-big-idea-about-paleontology2

o https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/finding-fossils2
o https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/layers-of-time2

o https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/anatomy-adventure
o https://www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/identification-adventure2

Out More:
o http://www.kidsdinos.com/what-are-fossils/
o life/fossils/http://www.onegeology.org/extra/kids/fossils.html

it all together:
o http://www.mylearning.org/fossils-game/interactive-intro/4-944/

2: Creating a Simple Power Point Presentation
When I teach this activity, I use a projector and do the activity with the children so they can see the steps rather than just hunting for the program feature. Talk to students about using the notes they made, or looking back at the sites they explored to answer each question well. Emphasis paraphrasing the information rather than directly copying the words form the websites.
The following are the student directions:
1. Open Microsoft Power Point.
Click the Windows Start:
Click Microsoft PowerPoint ( the Orange P)
2. On the first slide type the Title as Fossils and the Subtitle as Your Name.
3. Click the Design tab at the top and choose a design for your slide.
4. Right Click the grey area under the little screen on the left and choose New Slide.
5. In the new slide preview on the left, Right Click the new slide and Choose Layout and then choose Two Content.
6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you have 1 title slides and 5 other slides with Two Content setup.
7. At the top of each New Slide type one of your 5 questions in the text box at the top.

What is a fossil?
Why do we study fossils?
How do fossils form?
Where are fossils found?
Tell about types of fossils.

8. You will answer 1 question on one side. You should add a picture on the other side. Use complete sentences.

Lesson 3: Presenting the findings
Having created Power Point Presentations, students will use class time to present their findings to one another. This is a great opportunity to gauge students understanding, practice public speaking skills and allows them to show off what they leaned and take charge of their learning experience.
Prior to the presentations, it is important to go over what behavior is expected of the audience members.

Having students use technology as a tool to learn rather than only as entertainment is a great way to prepare them for the future!
Cross-Curriculum Ideas
This science lesson was brought to life using technology. Most other content topics can be accentuated using similar tactics.
Materials: Whiteboards, Mobile Labs, Short Throw Projectors, Headsets, Office Suite