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Fossil Guide
Administration Procedures
4th Grade Performance Task
Contributed by: Council Chief State School Officers (CCSSO)

Description:

Student groups produce a "Fossil Guide" that covers twelve fossils. The guide must include a drawing and written description for each fossil. Students may work on the exercise outside the classroom period, they may consult as many references as they wish, and you may provide them with advice and direction. However, the product of the exercise must be the student's own work in their own words.

The duration of this task is up to the teacher. With adequate prior instruction and classroom reference materials, the task could be completed in a single class period. Alternately, you may choose to allow up to three weeks for students to complete this task.

Overall Task Content Area:

Earth Space Science

Specific Knowledge Areas:

Fossils

Performance Expectations:

  • conducting investigations
  • gathering, organizing, and representing data

National Science Education Standards:

4 A SI 1: Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry: Grades K-4
1.4 Use data to construct a reasonable explanation. This aspect of the standard emphasizes the studentsí thinking as they use data to formulate explanations. Even at the earliest grade levels, students should learn what constitutes evidence and judge the merits or strength of the data and information that will be used to make explanations. After students propose an explanation, they will appeal to the knowledge and evidence they obtained to support their explanations. Students should check their explanations against scientific knowledge, experiences, and observations of others.

4 D ESS 1: Properties of Earth materials: Grades K-4
1.3  Fossils provide evidence about the plants and animals that lived long ago and the nature of the environment at that time.

(Use the "hot" link on the PALS home page to check the full text of related National Science Education Standards, if desired.)

General Instructions to the Teacher:

This task is designed to take students up to three weeks to complete.

Students will be working in groups of 4 - 6 for the performance tasks, and each group will prepare and submit their results as a group. Group assignments should be made in advance.

Although it is not a requirement, you may want to integrate the exercise into your regular science curriculum. Students may work on the exercise outside the classroom period, they may consult as many references as they wish, and you may provide them with advice and direction. However, the product of the exercise must be the students' own work in their own words.

Each student group must produce a complete "Fossil Guide" that covers all twelve fossils. For each fossil the student should present a drawing and written description that appears on the same page. The written descriptions of the fossils should include such things as size, shape, and general appearance.

The exercise may result in a report, artwork, or even videotape. The results of the exercise should bear the names of all members of the group.

Materials for "Fossil Guide":

At this station students should have:

  • One egg carton
  • Twelve plastic fossils

Advance Preparation:

None is required.

Safety:

  • Be careful.
  • Teachers and students should always exercise appropriate safety precautions and utilize appropriate laboratory safety procedures and equipment when working on science performance tasks.

Extensions/modifications:

  • N/A

Advanced Preparation Set Up:

Teacher: 1) Prepare student work station.

 

 

 

 

 

Student: 1) Create fossil guide.

 


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