3rd Grade's All About Fossils


Have you ever wondered about what the Earth was like 1 million years ago? What is a paleontologist? How can you organize fossils from oldest to youngest? Today, you will be able to find the answers to these questions. You will become an expert in fossils today, similar to a paleontologist!

Image result for fossils


Can be completed with a partner or individually:

For this lesson you will complete two different activities. In the first one, you will watch a video about paleontology. You will answer questions on the graphic organizer as you watch the video. This video will help you learn some key terms including: fossils, extinct, and paleontologist. You will hear these words many times as we learn about fossils.

The second activity, you will read an article about paleontologists and answers questions about it. In this article, you will learn more about what paleontologists do, examples of fossils, the root word paleo and so much more. 

The third activity is for if you finish activity 1 and 2 in the time allotted. If you do, activity 3 is an online game where you compare fossil layers. From these layers, you will place them in order based on age. Start on the level 1 difficulty and increase difficulty as you complete each level. 




Activity 1: Watch the video from the link below and answer the questions on the graphic organizer labeled "Dig Into Paleontology".


1. What is a paleontologist?

A. person that studies fossils

B. another name for a fossil

C. person who studies rocks


2. What is extinct?

A. Still alive today

B. No longer exists today

C. paleontologist


3. The remains of plants and animals from long ago that slowly became preserved in rocks is also called ______________________.


4. If paleontologists find an animals' _____________________, they can determine if they ate plants or other animals. 


5. Steps for a Paleontologist

1 - ________________________________________

2 - ________________________________________

3 - ________________________________________


Activity 2: Click the link below and it will take you to an article. Make sure to use your graphic organizer titled "What's the Big Idea About Paleontology?" As you read the article, answer the questions below in your graphic organizer. 




1. What does the root word "paleo" mean? _________________________________________________________________


2. How does the root word "paleo" help describe what a paleontologist does? _____________________________________________________________________________


3. True or False.

Fossils tell us everything about a plant or animal's past. ________________________


4. Which of the following is not an example of a fossil?

A. Bones from underground found 1 million years ago. 

B. Shark tooth found on top of the sand dated back to 1 year ago. 

C. Leaf impression left in mud 100,000 years ago. 


5. Write at least 3 sentences about why you would or would not want to become a paleontologist. Use facts about them that you have learned today to help support your claim. 





Activity 3 (optional): Click the link below and it will take you to a game. This game is called "Layers of Time". You will arrange the fossil layers from oldest to youngest. 




You will be graded on how well you followed along the WebQuest and how accurately you completed your graphic organizers. 

There are 5 questions per graphic organizer. This means there are 10 questions total. Each question will be 1 point except number 5 on each organizer. Number 5 on each organizer is worth 3 points on the first activity because the answer requires three steps. Number five on the second activity is worth 3 points because one point is your claim, one point for evidence, and one point for reasoning. Altogether, this will be equal to a total number of 14 points on the organizers.

Another 6 points will come from participation. In order to receive all 6 points for participation, you must be active during the WebQuest staying on task. For each time I have to redirect you, that is one participation point taken away. 

Altogether, this WebQuest is worth a total of 20 points. 



Questions 1-4             / 8
Questions 5           / 6
Participation           / 6
Total          / 20 

After completing these activities, I hope you have learned more about paleontologists. Throughout the next two weeks, we are going to dig deeper into fossils and paleontologists. This WebQuest is just the beginning of our Fossils unit. If you did not complete activity 3, you will have another opportunity during the unit to do so. 


WebQuest created using:

“Create a WebQuest: Simple. Quick. Free.” Create WebQuest, www.createwebquest.com/.


Activity 1 video:

scishowkids. “SciShow Kids.” YouTube, YouTube, www.youtube.com/channel/UCRFIPG2u1DxKLNuE3y2SjHA.


Activity 2 Article:

“What's the Big Idea About Paleontology?: AMNH.” American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/what-s-the-big-idea-about-paleo….


Activity 3 Game:

“Layers of Time: AMNH.” American Museum of Natural History, www.amnh.org/explore/ology/paleontology/layers-of-time2.

Teacher Page

This WebQuest was created for third graders beginning a fossils unit.

This would be used as an introduction to the Louisiana State Science Standard 3-LS4-1. The performance expectation of this standard is "Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago." Therefore, by the end of this fossils unit, the goal of students is to have them be able to accurately complete the performance expectation. 

The two disciplinary core ideas for this unit are: 

1. Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. (UE.LS4A.a)

2. Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environment. (UE.LS4A.b)