The Fossil Project

What if we were able to create a time capsule of your home? It might contain the food that you eat, the place that you sleep, and the other living thins with which you interact your pets, your plants, even YOU! The time capsule would hold evidence of your environment so that if someone else found all the pieces, they could figure out how you lived.

Now turn the clock back thousands and even millions of years. The organisms that lived on Earth left you a time capsule in rock called a fossil "LOCALITY". A fossil locality contains species from a particular place during a particular time. For example, imagine that an ancient swamp where T. rex and her prey lived is slowly buried in mud and turned to shale. That special shale may contain fossils of all the animals and plants that lived in that swamp, during that time.

"So what do we have to do?"

Very Simply, your team is going to describe what you find out about a real-life fossil locality by – making example fossils, writing a descriptive page, and teaching the class about your locality.

"How are we going to do all that?"

Here are the steps:

 

1. Choose a

LOCALITY:

 

 

 

Writer:

Presenter:

Artist 1:

Artist 2:

2. Choose roles:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Research your locality on the Web

Choose TIME FOSSIL:

Choose ENVIRON-MENT FOSSIL:

 

3. Work on individual responsibilities

Write the LOCALITY PAGE

Teach the class your locality in a PRESENTATION

Make the TIME FOSSIL

Make the ENVIRONMENT FOSSIL

 

 

4. Learn about other localities, take notes to use for interpretation day.

 

5. Analyze fossils from other groups

 

INTERPRETATION of unknown fossils and localities.

 

"When are we going to do all this stuff?"

MON

TUES

WED

THURS

FRI

16

  • Introduce Evolution Unit

17

  • Introduce Fossil
  • Begin research

18

  • Introduce Fossil
  • Begin research

19

  • Project

20

  • Project

21

 

22

23

24

  • CAS Field Trip

25

26

DUE: Fossils and Locality Page

Review for Exam

27 28

  • PRESENTATION of your locality
  • INTERPRETATION of other class’ Locality

29

30

"How will we be graded?"

There are two main parts: 1) Your individual role + 2) Your group’s interpretation

Individual Role: (A) Work days = 15 points each day X 3 days = 45 points

You earn these points by being on task and showing the work you got done.

(B) Your Role = 45 points

Find the rubric that matches your role below.

For a:

PRESENTER helps turn research into a 5-minute Power Point Presentation on your locality.

Out of

A

  • Speaker knows information well-enough to answer questions about the locality.

5

B

  • Presentation includes a visual of your locality’s special organisms or the whole environment.

5

C

  • Speaker refers to (but does NOT READ) notes during presentation.
  • Presentation is clear and accurate.

15

15

 

For a:

WRITER writes up research into the group’s FIELD GUIDE PAGE

Out of

A

  • Includes information on why this locality is unique, rare, or special in some way

5

B

  • Information on multiple (2-3) organisms’ niches is included

5

C

  • Writing is in your own words
  • Any new term used is defined
  • The information is organized by basic questions
  • The information answers all basic questions, including information on one organism’s niche, accurately and clearly

5

5

5

15

 

For a:

ARTIST 1 designs and creates the TIME FOSSIL

Out of

A

  • The fossil shows craftsmanship, care and/or ingenuity

5

B

  • The matrix (material surrounding the fossil) is a simulation of the real material

5

C

  • Fossil is recognizable as an organism from your locality.
  • Fossil is made out of hard material, (ex: plaster)
  • It is actual size
  • The fossil helps show what TIME (period, era, etc.) the locality is from by being unique to that time.
  • Sketch and name of the organism is included along with the locality page.

5

5

5

10

5

 

For a:

ARTIST 2 designs and creates the DIORAMA

Out of

A

  • The diorama shows craftsmanship, care and/or ingenuity

5

B

  • The diorama includes a model of the living organism that left the fossil.
  • The diorama includes clues to the humidity and temperature of the environment.
  • The diorama includes representatives of several animals that lived in that ecosystem.

5

C

  • The diorama accurately portrays the environment of the living organism that left the fossil.
  • The diorama accurately portrays the ecosystem of the living organism that left the fossil.
  • The diorama clearly shows an ancient ocean, coastal, freshwater, or terrestrial habitat.
  • The diorama shows unique characteristics of the ancient ENVIRONMENT.
  • Sketch and name of the organism is included along with the locality page.

5

5

5

10

5

Group Role:

For a:

PRESENTER helps turn research into a 5-minute PRESENTATION on your locality.

Out of

A

Uses only notes from others’ presentations, without the "book" of Locality Pages to assist you.

Description is detailed.

5

B

Your analysis uses additional details to support your ideas

Your group needed the "book" of Locality Pages to help

5

C

You analysis includes an explanation of each unknown locality’s time and environment

Each idea is justified

Your group needed the other class’ "Book" of Locality Pages to help your analysis.

15

15

TOTAL = 100

FOSSIL LOCALITIES

White Sea

Burgess Shale

Hell Creek

Green River Formation

Solenhofen Limestone

LaBrea Tarpits

Mazon Creek

The Thurgood Marshall Shale

We chose the Thurgood Marshall Shale, located in San Francisco, California, to be the site of our paleontological report. The Thurgood Marshall Shale is unique in many ways. Many fossils from the Mesozoic era, Jurassic period, which is dated at about 2.35 billion years ago, have been discovered here.

Most of the fossils found were made out of shale, that means that the environment during the time the fossils were alive must have been very muddy. The biome, which means a large geographical area that has populations living in similar ways, must have looked like a swamp or bog where muddy waters are still. The stillness allows for most of the fossils to be preserved as molds.

One of the most interesting fossils found in the Thurgood Marshall Shale were the teeth of the ghabouropposums, now extinct, but thought to be the ancestor of modern goats. Ghbouropposums are considered to be some of the oldest known mammals on earth. "Besides a plethora of the elusive ghabouropposum remains, inconceivable paleontological mysteries lie in the dinosaur excavations uncovered at the Thurgood Marshall Shale". 1 The author is talking about all the fossils or reitmanosaurs that were found.

It is believed that 231 billion years ago, the largest populations of reitmanosaurs lived here. Reitmanosaurs look a lot like pterodactyls because they could fly, but they were much smaller. They filled a lot of niches for their environment. For example, reitmanosaur bites were found on fossils of large insects. They also provided food for the equally large population of hartzogosaurs, which were carnivores. "A diet characteristic of the preternatural hartzogosaurs consisted or reitmanosaur eggs. . .".2

Although not many mold fossils were found of birds, a lot of trace fossils were found of chicken-like bird tracks. This accounts for the co-existence of birds and reitmansaurs, which means that they lived together at the same place and time. That makes the Thurgood Marshall Shale really interesting. Imagine, back 231 billion years ago all these life forms used to exist together. Most went extinct, but some are still around. The Thurgood Marshall Shale shows us that Darwin’s theory of evolution was right, and that the fittest survive and get to evolve.

Written By: John Lopez

Presented By: Cindy Chung

Date: 2/27/99

 

1excerpt from http://www.thurgoomarshallshale.com

2excerpt from http://www.reitmanosaur.1234~opp.com

TITLE

OPENING: includes where and when, and which era, period

FIRST PARAGRAPH: includes environment facts, and fossilization facts

BODY: includes facts about organisms (like niches) and fossils

CONCLUSION

Written By:

Presented By:

FOOTNOTES

Writer Checklist Name

Day 1 Date Period

Teacher Check

Student Check

 





Our locality is:





Search for articles, Web pages, or other references for information on your locality

Name of article:

Name of author:

The source is

(e.g. book, URL, magazine)





Write a two (2) sentence summary about the site

 

 

 





Information you found to be useful to you:

1.

2.

3.





Useful quotes from the article:

1.

2.

3.





Words that you need to define:

1.

2.

3.





how does the article describe the environment? What new information did you learn?

1.

2.

3.





How does the article describe the organisms? What new information did you learn?

1.

2.

3.





What new information did you learn abut the fossilization process in your locality?

 

 

 

 

Presenter/Researcher Checklist Name

Day 1 Date Period





Our Locality:





Our team is assigned computer # _____





Write down the three rules for computer use:

1.

2.

3.





Write down two Web search engines that will help you find information:

1.

2.





How can you narrow your search down in the search engine?

 

 





Besides using the Internet, what are two (2) other tools you can use on the computer to help you with your search?

1.

2.





Brainstorm five (5) keywords pertaining to your locality that will help you begin your search on the computer

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.





What keys on the keyboard do you need to press if your computer freezes?

1.

2.

3.

Writer Checklist Name

Day 2 Date Period





Our Locality:





Our team is assigned computer # _____





Where is your dig site located? Give the country and region (i.e. State). If you can, give the longitude of latitude.

 





What Evolution Era or peirod does your site represent? Give the time in mya.

1.

2.

3.





Name at least three key animal fossils that represent your dig site.

 

 





What was the environment like (seas, land, air)? Give three examples, such as a fish fossil for seas or leaf for land, that proves your statement.

 





What type of rocks are your fossils found in?

 





Give 5 references that confirm what you stated above.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Presenter/Researcher Checklist Name

Day 2 Date Period





Our Locality:





Our team is assigned computer # _____





Where is your dig site located? Give the country and region (i.e. State). If you can, give the longitude of latitude.





What Evolution Era or peirod does your site represent? Give the time in mya.

1.

2.





Name at least three key animal fossils that represent your dig site.

 

 





What was the environment like (seas, land, air)? Give three examples, such as a fish fossil for seas or leaf for land, that proves your statement.

 





What type of rocks are your fossils found in?





 





Give 5 references that confirm what you stated above.

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

Writer Checklist Name

Day 3 Date Period

Checked by





Topic Sentence clear.





Name of the site, and its specific location given so that you could find it easily.





Introductory paragraph clearly describes the site as to what it looks like, the types of rocks found there, and the age of the fossils found at the site.





Era and/or Period given.





The second paragraph has a good transition from the description of the site, to the types of fossils found there. The period would work as a good tie between the two paragraphs.





At least three general types of fossils are given as examples, such as fish, shellfish or clams, algae. The Writer provided each fossil with a good description that allows you to picture the fossil in your head.





The third paragraph has a good transition from the fossils described in the second paragraph to the type of environments that they lived in described in this paragraph.





A description of the environment (i.e. land or sea, warm or cold, oxygen) is given in such detail that you feel that you are standing in that environment, smelling the trees (if there are trees).





The conclusion provides a summary of the previous paragraphs, leaving the readers with a clear picture of what they should find at the paleontology dig site.

Presenter/Researcher Checklist Name

Day 3 Date Period

Checked by





A catchy, interesting introduction is given that will catch the listener's attention.





Name of the site, and its specific location given so that you could find it easily.





The introduction paints a picture of the site, such as the types of rocks found there, the shape of the landscape, so that the listeners could see the site in their mind as the presenter speaks. The age of the fossils found at the site.





A drawing or picture of the site is shown to emphasize what the presenter is saying.





The Era and/or Period are clearly given.





The presenter gives a description of the KEY types of fossils found at the site, providing pictures of those fossils.





At least three general KEY types of fossils are given as examples, such as fish, shellfish or clams, algae.





The presenter paints a picture as to how those animals lived (e.g. how they moved, hunted, what they ate).





The presenter gives a description of the environment so that the listener could smell the trees (if there are trees).





The presenter gives a picture of the general environment.



The presenter concludes with a summary of the presentation, highlighting the key features of the site so that the audience will remember what to look for when they look at another class' fossils.

Fossil Artifact Construction

Name Date

 

 

Date

 

Item

Pts

To Do

Completed

Description

Fossil

3

 

 

 

Location

1.5

 

 

 

Time Period

1.5

 

 

 

Sketch

3

 

 

 

Materials

3

 

 

 

Clay

 

 

 

 

Plaster

 

 

 

 

Pigments

 

 

 

 

Paint

 

 

 

 

Food Coloring

 

 

 

 

Dye

 

 

 

 

Tools

3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Total

15

 

 

 

Sketch Top

 

Sketch Front

 

Sketch Side