Academy of the Holy Names
|Middle School||Three 80-minute class periods||Need 1 picture|
How are organisms fossilized?
Imagine yourself as an ancient organism that has ended up in the fossil record. You are going to tell the story of your life, death, and fossilization story as if you were an organism found by a present-day paleontologist.
To analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record. To construct a scientific explanation based on evidence. To observe patterns in nature and to bring up questions about relationships. To ask questions and define problems. To construct explanations and design solutions.
During this activity students see the value of 3D visualization in the study of ancient creatures. Students will be able to use Cura to manipulate STL files of their organism and watch the printing process. After their fossil, has printed students will be able to use scaling factors to calculate the actual size of the organism that they are studying. Without the use of 3D printing, students would never be able to study these fossils in the classroom due to their immense value and fragile nature.
Formative assessments: Complete the research graphic organizer listing the question and relevant research from two different sources; teacher observations through discussion; exit ticket at the mid-way point will check for content understanding and group dynamic
Summative assessment(s): Presentation to whole group; the presentation must answer their driving question by communicating the most important information in an organized manner. Groups must use some sort of visual display for students to follow along with. Groups will then answer 2-3 questions proposed by the group afterwards.
This presentation can be graded using The Buck Institute’s performance and collaboration rubrics. Consider using the CCSS aligned presentation rubric: www.bie.org/object/document/6_8_presentation_rubric_ccss_aligned
Link to all BIE rubrics: www.bie.org/objects/cat/rubrics
ANCHORING EVENT & PROCEDURE
There are several anchoring events that would be successful in creating excitement for fossil in the classroom. If you do not have access to an expert or fossils, consider showing a video that features the scientific discovery process.
Video Option 1: Smithsonian Titanoboa: Monster Snake (Available on Netflix)
Video Option 2: Dinosaur 13 (Available on Netflix)
Video Option 3: National Geographic Channel “Clash of the Americas” (iTunes $1.99)
-Arrange a time for students to Skype with a scientist from a Natural History Museum.
-Take a field trip to a museum where fossils are kept
-Virtual field trip to a Natural History Museum (Field Museum, Natural History Museum London, LA Brea Tar Pits)
- Distribute student handout and worksheet. Introduce the activity and explain to students they will be gathering information about their fossil and finding a printable 3D model for their fossil.
- Give students 20-30 minutes of time to explore the websites listed in resources. Some students may have an idea of what they would like to do, others may need some guidance choosing an animal.
- Students check-in with teacher and share their organism.
- Students use the handout to gather information and evidence about their organism.
- While students work, pull STL files for their organisms and begin the printing process. For the sake of time, scaling the print down will help save time. (For example, a Smilodon skull that would take 40 hours to print full size will print in 4-5 hours at ¼ size.)
- Students should find 5-10 pictures of their organisms and construct a paleoclimate using their background knowledge and information they have collected during research. (Students may make mistakes in their assumptions about climate or closest relative, this is ok. Allow students to use evidence to support their claims, like scientists do when they research new organisms.)
- Students will create an iBook or slide presentation sharing the life story of their fossil. (Mini-lesson on formatting and appearance may be necessary. Discuss with students what information they are presenting and how they can make their presentation look professional. Ex: a cartoon brontosaurs isn’t appropriate for a non-fiction science presentation)
- Student Presentations, assess presentation skills using BIE rubric.
- Optional: Display 3D printed fossils and student stories in a common space in school. Or allow students to share their work with younger classes.
NEXT GENERATION SCIENCE STANDARDS (NGSS)
3-LS4-1 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity
Connection to Lesson
|Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past. MS-LS4-1||Coming soon|
Science & Engineering Practices
Connection to Lesson
|Asking questions and defining problems in 6–8 builds on K–5 experiences and progresses to specifying relationships between variables, and clarifying arguments and models.
Constructing explanations and designing solutions in 6–8 builds on K– 5 experiences and progresses to include constructing explanations and designing solutions supported by multiple sources of evidence consistent with scientific ideas, principles, and theories.
Disciplinary Core Ideas
Connection to Lesson
|LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
The collection of fossils and their placement in chronological order (e.g., through the location of the sedimentary layers in which they are found or through radioactive dating) is known as the fossil record. It documents the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of many life forms throughout the history of life on Earth.
Connection to Lesson
Observed patterns in nature guide organization and classification and prompt questions about relationships and causes underlying them.
Cause and Effect
Events have causes, sometimes simple, sometimes multifaceted. Deciphering casual relationships, and the mechanisms by which they are mediated, is a major activity of science and engineering.
COMMON CORE STATE STANDARDS (CCSS)
RESOURCES & MATERIALS
Florida Museum of Natural History
New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science
Smithsonian Natural History Museum
National Geographic Prehistoric Animals
3D File for Printing
University of Michigan Museum of Paleontology
What does it mean to be human? Smithsonian 3D Collection
Paleobiology and Fossil Whales: Webcast and Teaching Resources
Download Smithsonian X3D: 3D model of a Cerro Ballena whale
Iowa State University GeoFab Lab
This virtual lab showcases a spectacular collection of fossils and artifacts found mostly at Lake Turkana in East Africa. The digital collection of animals, human ancestors, as well as ancient stone tools offers a unique tool for scholars and enthusiasts to explore and interact with the collection online. It also provides an opportunity to download models for 3-D printing as well as to comment and share images of your favorite printed fossil objects on our forum. Once you create a username and password through africanfossils.org, you can download STL files.
Thingiverse is very user friendly. Even though there many models that are not scientific or have been scanned from an actual specimen, the ease of printing makes it worthwhile to explore.
Morphosource is an excellent site for fossils. This site required one extra step. The files are not STL, and most 3D printers will use STL files. Most of the files will be on PLY format, but there is an easy way to convert. 1) Download the open source software, MeshLab to convert the files to STL. 2) From MeshLab, import your PLY file, and then export as STL (Binary).
KEY ACADEMIC AND/OR SCIENTIFIC LANGUAGE
Geological time, extinct, predator, prey, carnivore, herbivore, insectivore, paleoclimate, molds, casts, fossil, sedimentary rock, minerals, flora, fauna
Students should have a basic understanding of fossilization and plate tectonics. It is also helpful for students to have studies the rock cycle and weathering. Students should have a basic understanding of geological time and the law of superposition. This project is a great culminating activity for a geology unit.