Paleo Sleuths - Digging Deeper

The Great Plains have been the source of rich contributions to the study of paleontology, thanks to the work of paleo sleuths like these working to discover and uncover the fossil record that tells us about the pre-history of the Great Plains. The Lesson Plans and activities allow the educator and student to understand and interpret the study of Paleontology as it uncovers the book of time on earth.

  • Paleo Sleuths - Ashfall Fossil Finds

    This is an inquiry activity that will introduce students to the variety of fossils that can be found at Ashfall Fossil Beds State Historical Park located north of Royal, Nebraska.  Students will use what they have learned about describing fossils from previous activities to infer information, and identify cardstock representations of fossils to that of the real fossils found at Ashfall through research on the Ashfall website.  Students will have four excavation opportunities to investigate and identify the animals at Ashfall.  This activity takes 1-2 days to complete.  This activity is an adaptation of the Great Fossil Find.

    Grades: 4-8, 13+
  • Paleo Sleuths - Creating Fossil Field Jackets

    Students will make a fossil field jacket using a seashell fossil. Seashells are used because they are larger to manage for this activity and can be ordered in a larger quantity.  Other fossils or rocks can be used depending on the size.  Palm size is recommended.  They will only cover the topside of the seashell fossil or other fossil in this activity.

    Grades: 4-8, 13+
  • Paleo Sleuths - Investigating the Past Using a Geological Time Scale

    We know that the dinosaurs went extinct 66 million years ago. But what about other time markers in geologic history? How do we know what organisms lived in the past? How can we show geologic time?

    Geologic history is told through research done by scientists of the rock, sediment, and fossil records found in the layers of the Earth over thousands to millions to billions of years. We can show this time, from the oldest age of layers at the bottom to the youngest age of layers at the top, represented in the Geologic Time Scale.

    In this activity, students in groups of three will construct a vertical representation of a Geologic Time Scale and research facts, events, and organisms that differentiate between Time Scale Eras, Periods, and Epochs.

    Grades: 4-8, 13+
  • Paleo Sleuths - What's in the Box?

    This is an introductory inquiry activity where students carry out investigations, record data, and ask questions to build relationships between evidence and explanations. This activity can be used to build background knowledge about science and engineering investigative processes.

    Grades: 4-8, 13+