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Fossil Evidence of Earth’s History

 Fossils Evidence of Earth’s History

Students will be able to analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.

  • Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. This is called extinction.
  • Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environment

Fossil Evidence

  • Examples of data could include types of fossils, size, and distributions of fossil organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include marine fossils found on dry land, tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas, and fossils of extinct organisms.
  • Fossils are the remains or traces of plants and animals that live a long time ago. Fossils help scientists understand what life was like millions of years ago. Some fossils provide evidence of living things that have gone extinct, which means they no longer found alive anywhere on earth today.
Fossils Unit for Third and Fourth Grade
 

This complete unit will help you teach your third or fourth-grade science class about fossils!

A Fossil is the Remains or Traces of Prehistoric Life That Inform us of Earth’s History.

large fossil of a mammoth

Fossils are the preserved remains of an animal, such as the animal’s bones, or impressions of the animal’s activities, such as footprints. Even poop can be considered a fossil.

It’s important to remember that plants can be fossils too!

Fossils can be found all over the world, however, there are areas that have a lot more fossils than other areas.

Scientists can learn a lot about the history of life from fossils, such as what types of animals live in a particular location.

We know that the area that is now Mt. Everest was once at the bottom of the sea because scientists found fossils of ocean animals there. Fossil evidence supports this theory. 

By looking at the teeth of extinct animals, scientists are able to determine their diet. When fossils with long pointed teeth are found, scientists know that the animal was a carnivore (animals that eat meat). If a fossil with flat, smooth teeth is found, the animal is likely a herbivore (animals that eat plants).

Also, the size and shape of the skull are used to determine the size of an animal. Scientists can even use dinosaur footprints to determine how fast the dinosaur ran, how many legs it had, and if it traveled alone or in groups. We know this also because of fossil evidence.

Your class will be completely engaged with the rich science information in informational text passages, and fossil activities including fossil worksheets, fourth-grade science projects on fossils. and interactive notebook flaps. This unit starts with phenomena to engage the students.
 
Learning how fossils are formed and types of fossils can be difficult for some elementary students.  This unit will help you teach the concept! This unit includes Close reading activities like this reading informational text unit for third grade.
 

Foldables for Fossils

 
foldable for fossils
 
 
This unit allows students to participate in critical thinking, read informational text passages, and engage in hands-on activities about fossils and 4th-grade science project ideas. Fossils can provide evidence of Earth’s history. The fossil evidence is interesting to look at. 

How are fossils formed?

fossil evidence
 
 
Included are directions for making a fossil replica using inexpensive materials such as a plastic bowl, modeling clay, a sea shell, and plaster of Paris.  Your class will really enjoy these fourth-grade science projects! Students will love learning about fossil evidence.
 
how do fossils form
 
 
This resource addresses the disciplinary core ideas of Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity and Earth’s Place in the Universe.
 
fossil evidence

This standards-based unit is aligned with third and fourth-grade science NGSS 3-LS4-1 and 4-ESS1-1 as well as Utah SEEd 4.1.3 and 4.1.4.

 
NGSS 3-LS4-1. Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago. 

NGSS 4-ESS1-1. Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.

Also aligned with

Utah SEEdStandard 4.1.3 Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the stability and change in organisms and environments from long ago. Emphasize using the structures of fossils to make inferences about ancient organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include comparing a trilobite with a horseshoe crab in an ocean environment or using a fossil footprint to determine the size of a dinosaur. (LS4.A)

Standard 4.1.4 Engage in argument from evidence based on patterns in rock layers and fossils found in those layers to support an explanation that environments have changed over time. Emphasize the relationship between fossils and past environments. Examples could include tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas and rock layers with marine shell fossils found above rock layers with land plant fossils. (ESS1.C) Students will look at fossil evidence. 

 
foldable for fossils
 
 
This is a printable unit but if you’re looking for an online unit on the same topic, check out my Fossil Distance Learning Unit!
 
fossil evidence
 

Other teachers LOVE this unit.  It’s got nearly 200 perfect reviews on TPT!

Check out just two of the 5-star reviews:

“Excellent unit with engaging activities that align with standards. My students loved the readings and labs!”
-Dale H.

“Great for my third and fourth graders. Aligns with standards. Great engaging activities.”
-Tina S.

Don’t spend your valuable time creating your own unit on fossils – I’ve done all the hard work for you!

 
Also available in a distance learning version created in Google Slides on TPT
 
online fossil unit for third and fourth grade and fossil evidence

Try this unit in your classroom TODAY:

This unit is available for download in two places:

  1. Teaching Science with Lynda on Teachers Pay Teachers
  2. Here on teachingscience.us

Both downloads are identical in every way – if you download directly from this site, you’re giving me the maximum amount of support!

Either way, your satisfaction is guaranteed.

This site uses 100% secure checkout with PayPal, and after checkout your download is instantly available.

Thank you, and I hope you enjoy using this unit in your classroom!

Who needs a free, no-prep science reading unit on bald eagles?

Start Here

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!

 
Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit

Tina S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:05:39-06:00

Tina S

I am so impressed with this unit which manages to be distance learning and hands-on at the same time.  Really well thought out and engaging activities that allow students to practice each of the eight Science and Engineering Practices.  Really no prep for me!   Science and Engineering Practices Distance Education Unit
The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!

 
Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2

Richard S

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:07:52-06:00

Richard S

The elephant article was excellent but I also thought the lab on dissecting a flower was broken down so easily, even telling me where to get inexpensive flowers!  This resource helped me teach this challenging standard in an engaging way.  Worth every penny!   Structure and Function NGSS 4-LS1-1 and 4-LS1-2
As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.

 
Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4

Sharon M

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
5
2016-05-03T18:24:44-06:00

Sharon M

As always, Lynda provides perfect alignment with the standards.   Age of the Earth and Geologic Time Scale NGSS MS ESS1-4
Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.

 
Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning

Expedition Fourth

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:44:55-07:00

Expedition Fourth

Thank you so much for creating this resource! It is such a fun and engaging activity for my students, especially during distance learning.   Honey Bee Digital Escape Distance Learning
My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.

 
Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer

Heidi J

Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams
2020-11-03T20:45:49-07:00

Heidi J

My students loved this unit. I was able to present different elements of it throughout the month. It is hard to find interesting non-fictional, age-appropriate text for my students that they will enjoy. This was a great unit that aligned well for my students who have very different goals within the same group.   Compare and Contrast Two Texts on Reindeer
5
3
Teaching Science with Lynda R. Williams