The lesson will begin by students accessing their prior knowledge of fossils and the fossil record by creating a "chain letter" with their classmates. Next, students will participate in an introductory WebQuest which will explain how the anatomical structure of the whale has changed over time. With a collaborative group, students will create a timeline of the Eocene epoch that will depict the chronological order of whale fossil appearance in rock layers. Using the jigsaw strategy, students will read an informational text pertaining to the change in the anatomical structures of the whale over time and complete a data table. Lastly, students will complete an exit slip, which will serve as the summative assessment for the lesson's objectives.
This lesson results from a collaboration between the Alabama State Department of Education and ASTA.
In this blended lesson supporting literacy skills, students learn that transitional fossils provide scientists with evidence to establish how major animal groups are related to one another in evolutionary terms. Students develop their literacy skills as they explore a science focus on a recently discovered fossil named Tiktaalik. During this process, they read informational text, learn and practice vocabulary words, and explore content through video and interactive activities. This resource is part of the Inspiring Middle School Literacy Collection.
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