Fossil Activity

Place students in cooperative groups, allowing them to
interact and complete the activity.
Answers to Part A:Facts: 1, 3, 7
Answers to Part B:Facts: 1, 4
Ask the students individually to write a story about either
diagram and share the stories as time permits.
It's All In The Rocks
Part A- Stories In The Bones
Paleontologists, archaeologists and other scientists digging into the past base conclusions
about their finds on partial evidence. They have to be able to tell the difference between a
fact and an inference. Here's your chance to practice scientific reasoning. Suppose you
are in charge of a group of paleontologists digging at a fossil site. Someone screams
"Eureka!" When you go over to investigate, you observe the fossilized bones pictured in
Diagram A. Based upon your observations of the bones, which of these statements is a
fact and which is an inference?
1.The fossil find
includes a jaw bone.
2.The person who
screamed "Eureka"
uncovered a fossil
3. This animal had
sharp, dagger-like
4. This animal ate
other animals.
5. This animal used its
sharp claws to kill
6. This animal walked
on land.
7. This animal was a
8. This animal had fur
or other body covering
to keep warm.
Part B- Stories in the Rocks
Geologists and paleontologists rely on what they find in rocks to confirm their theories.
But rocks can't talk, so sometimes the conclusions must be inferred.
Examine the rock sample shown in Diagram B. It was removed from the ground exactly
as illustrated (the top portion of the rock was nearest the surface). Classify each of the
following statements as an inference or a fact.
1. The rock sample has
seven layers.
2.The oldest layer is
found at the bottom.
3. The youngest layer
is found at the top.
4. This sample is a
sedimentary (or
layered) rock type.
5. Dinosaurs probably
existed when these
fossilized organisms
were alive.
What events could alter this rock arrangement? How might the changes confuse our
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