Upper Key Stage 2 Dinosaurs and Fossils
Fossils and Rocks

Be a palaeontologist! Excavate a fossil block and research the three main epochs of fossils. Find out how fossils are made and make your own. Tour your school to share your knowledge with other children.

Session 1 Being palaeontologists

Objectives

Science

  • Recognise that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

D&T

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose.

Planning and Activities

Try your hand at being a palaeontologist by excavating a fossil block, generating questions about fossils and starting a dino-dictionary.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To experience and wonder what it would be like to be a palaeontologist and to generate questions and intrigue about fossils.
  • To excavate a Plaster of Paris/sand mixed block, using clay tools and brush, to discover dinosaurs, shells and other dig-able treasures.

Children will:

  • Imagine what it would be like to be a palaeontologist.
  • Generate questions and intrigue about fossils.
  • Examine and break down a fossil excavation block, using clay tools and brush, to discover dinosaurs, shells and other dig-able treasures.

Provided Resources

  • How to make a fossil excavation block
  • Dino dictionary entries

You Will Need

  • Plastic dinosaur skeletons
  • Plaster/sand blocks
  • Clay tools
  • Small hammers
  • Clean paint brushes
  • Small note books and pencils
  • Camera
  • Sand timer or digital countdown clock
  • Strips of card
  • Blocks of ice with plastic bones, etc. frozen within them
  • Squeezy drinks bottles containing warm water

Weblinks

There are no weblinks needed for this session.

Session 2 Fossils and the Timeline

Objectives

Science

  • Recognise that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

Planning and Activities

Develop your palaeontologist expertise; research the three main epochs of fossils and put them on a timeline.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To understand different categories of fossils and understand some key palaeontological terms.

Children will:

  • Understand where different fossils appear on the timeline.
  • Understand the difference between body fossils and trace fossils.
  • Discuss, with understanding, terms such as era, epoch, Palaeozoic, Mesozoic and Cenozoic.

You Will Need

  • Access to the internet
  • Printer
  • Research books
  • Dino dictionary entries

Session 3 How are fossils formed?

Objectives

Science

  • Recognise that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

D&T

  • Use research and develop design criteria to inform the design of innovative, functional, appealing products that are fit for purpose.

Planning and Activities

Find out how fossils were made and make your own clay mould fossil, an ‘amber’ resin fossil and your own Dino-poo fossil.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To become familiar with specific terms and concepts used to refer to fossils and fossilisation.
  • To make fossils out of different resources.

Children will:

  • Discuss, with understanding, terms such as permineralization, silicification, pyritization and petrification, as well as cast and mould fossils
  • Talk with familiarity about amber as fossilized tree resin
  • Make fossils out of different resources: dino-poo fossil out of Modroc, ‘amber’ fossil out of resin and food colouring, and mould fossil out of air drying clay

Provided Resources

  • How are fossils formed
  • Dino dictionary entries
  • Fossil explanations
  • How to make a cast fossil
  • How to make a mould fossil
  • How to make an amber fossil

You Will Need

  • Newspaper
  • Sticky tape
  • Modroc
  • Air-drying clay
  • Toy dinosaurs/plastic bones
  • Shells
  • Leaves
  • Lemon or orange jelly
  • Sweets in the shape of worms, animals, etc.
  • Cheap epoxy resin (one per fossil)
  • Yellow food colouring
  • A small heat-proof mould
  • Something to trap inside the fossil
  • Something to protect the table
  • Warm, soapy water to hand

Session 4 Visit to a Natural History Museum

Objectives

Science

  • Recognise that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

Planning and Activities

Experience fossils at first hand in a Natural History Museum; study them in detail and make drawings.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To experience real fossils in the context of a museum, to draw the fossils and collect more information.

Children will:

  • Experience fossils at first hand.
  • Understand more about fossils from the information offered by the museum.
  • Study the texture and look of the fossils, by undertaking life drawing.

Provided Resources

This session does not need any provided resources.

You Will Need

  • Sketch books and pencils
  • Notebooks
  • Camera
  • Risk assessments for visit

Session 5 Palaeontologists on tour

Objectives

Science

  • Recognise that fossils provide information about living things that inhabited the Earth millions of years ago.

English

  • Be able to identify the audience for and purpose of the writing, selecting the appropriate form and using similar writing as models for their own.

Planning and Activities

Share your palaeontologist expertise with other children by taking your learning on tour.

Teaching Outcomes:

  • To be able to articulate learning about fossils.
  • To write a short presentation on their learning during the topic.

Children will:

  • Articulate their learning about fossils.
  • Think flexibly about their learning and understand how to make information relevant to different audiences.
  • Write a short, age appropriate presentation on their learning during the topic.
  • Websites: https://www.pobble.com/for-schools Pobble, an on-line writing website which showcases over 100,000 pieces of writing, including examples based on Hamilton plans, where you could upload examples of your children’s writing.

Provided Resources

This session does not need any provided resources.

You Will Need

  • Cast, mould and resin fossils from previous sessions
  • Empty 2 litre drinks bottles
  • Thick circular card
  • Card to make large timeline
  • Internet
  • Photographs of the block chipping, all the fossil making and museum trip