Science 3: Trace Fossils
Before you get too excited, this lesson doesn't involve any actual tracing...although we suppose if you actually found any fossilized footprints or poop you could trace them over and over to your heart's content. Whatever makes you happy.
|Elementary and Middle School||3rd Grade|
In the simplest of terms, a trace fossil is anything found in the world that tells us
more about the things that lived before us.
Okay, yeah, that isn't really all that specific." [Students in class looking confused]
A much better way to understand what trace fossils are is to check out a few examples!
Some examples of trace fossils include...
Footprints… [Teacher holding up a trace fossil]
Holes burrowed by animals…
Egg shells and nests…
And even evidence of, well... stuff you probably don't want to get your hands in. [Dinosaur poops]
All of these examples are evidence of animal life from the past. [Dino pointing at a blackboard]
But perhaps the most important thing to understand is that trace fossils are not typical “fossils,”
and by that, we mean they're not body fossils.
Body fossils are the actual remains of a body or body part – while trace fossils are everything
that shows “traces” of life, without the actual body to show for it.
So as you might imagine, when scientists study trace fossils, it's a little bit different
than when they study body fossils.
When you have a body fossil, it's easy to say, “look, it has big and strong legs, [A body fossil in a museum]
so this animal probably ran a lot.”
But without a body, scientists have to get a bit more creative.
By examining movement patterns through footprints, looking at how and possibly why they dug holes, [Dinosaur sticks its head out the hole]
or even examining the size and shape of their... uh…leftover meals... scientists can attempt
to better understand how animals lived way back when.
Between the tracks, the nests, and everything in between, animals have thankfully left plenty [Pictures of the different trace fossils]
of trace fossils for us to study and learn from.
They're all over the place if you know where to look.
Just think about all the traces you leave on a daily basis – whether it's the footprints [Girl leaves footprints as she walks to the school bus]
on your walk across your front lawn, or all the dirt you kick up playing soccer at recess.
Anything else jump to mind? [Kid kicks a ball]
Nope, no toilet humor.
We've already mentioned poop twice, a turd time would be too much. [Stop sign appears over picture of a toilet]
…Alright, scat's it, we promise. [Kid looks bored]