This comprehensive guide to the Paleontology section of OLogy, the Museum's science Web site for kids, explains how after-school educators can make the most of the site. It focuses on dinosaurs because that's what kids are most familiar with. An introduction to the Big Ideas in Paleontology brings educators up to speed on how scientists study early life on Earth, what kind of information the fossil record contains, and why dinosaurs are not extinct. A Site Map shows where to locate all Paleontology resources, from stories to quizzes to hands-on-activities. Paleontology units offer ways to combine different types of resources around a topic. Follow-up questions encourage inquiry-based learning. Wrap-Up Paleo Projects suggests fun ways to wrap up any of these units. A Links and Resources section lists recommended paleontology-related books and Web sites for educators and for kids. A glossary of paleontological terms wraps up the guide.
This classroom activity introduces students to Antarctica's organisms, landscapes, and seascapes. After examining the images in the photo gallery, students work in small groups to discuss their conclusions about the living conditions on this continent. The printable three-page handout includes a series of questions to help students structure their thoughts while viewing the gallery images and a group worksheet that guides students through a discussion of their evolving hypotheses and conclusions.
In this Biodiversity Counts activity, students use their arthropod knowledge to create and play a classroom Jeopardy-style game. The printable five-page PDF handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to help students identify what they already know about arthropods and step-by-step directions for developing Jeopardy-style quiz questions.
Students learn about material culture in this Moveable Museum lesson plan by taking a firsthand look at how culture influences the kinds of things we do. The 12-page PDF guide has educator materials including background information, teacher strategies, assessment guidelines, and detailed notes about the curriculum standards addressed. The Becoming a Cultural Researcher activity worksheet has a series of questions that prompts students to reflect on the material culture of daily activities, customs, or ceremonies. There is a kid-friendly glossary of related terms.
In this classroom activity, middle school students examine the wide-ranging sizes of dinosaurs. The activity opens with background information for teachers about the enormous range of dinosaur sizes. In a classroom discussion, students describe the size of some dinosaurs. Then, working from an existing grid, students create either a to-scale drawing of a Tyrannosaurus head or a life-size drawing of a Protoceratops.
Students learn about refracting telescopes in this Moveable Museum unit, in which they construct a simple telescope. The three-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity notes, step-by-step directions, and information about where to obtain supplies.
Students learn about the variations of white light in this Moveable Museum unit, in which they build a pocket-sized spectroscope from readily available materials and examine different light sources in school, at home, and around their town or city. The seven-page PDF guide includes suggested general background readings for educators, activity and safety notes, step-by-step directions, and a spectroscope template.
In this Biodiversity Counts activity, students learn how scientists calculate a biodiversity index using a page from the phone book as their data source. The printable five-page PDF handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about what they already know about biodiversity and how living and non-living things are connected, step-by-step directions for calculating a biodiversity index, and a worksheet that includes brainstorming questions and areas for recording answers.
Paleontologists and molecular biologists have searched for a couple of decades to find and replicate DNA from some non-avian dinosaur fossil. But to date, no results have been obtained, either from fossil bones or teeth preserved in sediments or from a fossil preserved in amber, as was done in the film, Jurassic Park.
This online article is from the Museum's Science Explorations, a collaboration between AMNH and Scholastic designed to promote science literacy. Written for students in grades 6-10, this article from Science World magazine has an interview with AMNH astrophysicist Mike Shara, in which he explains what space objects are and what happens when they collide. There are Web links that offer further opportunities for learning about space objects and their collisions.
In this classroom activity, students record the temperatures in and around a walk-in refrigerator or freezer to see how cold air behaves when it meets warmer air. The printable five-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about how the temperature of air changes its density, detailed experiment directions and a worksheet that helps students use the experiment results to obtain insight into the wind patterns of Antarctica.
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Hall of Biodiversity. The printable two-page handout includes an explanation of biodiversity, a "scavenger hunt" and a writing and drawing activity using the Forest Floor Diorama, a classification activity using the Spectrum of Life Wall and a treasure hunt using the Rain Forest Diorama.
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Reptiles and Amphibians Hall. The printable two-page handout includes notes about the distinguishing characteristics of reptile and amphibian eggs and a hall map that directs students to 10 numbered display cases, with at least one observation activity to be completed at each.
This activity sheet for young children is designed to be completed during a visit to the Museum's Hall of Planet Earth. The printable two-page handout includes notes on the rough terrain found on the ocean floors, a hall map that directs kids to seven numbered areas with observation activities, a hall-wide writing and drawing activity for the rocks on display and a collection of fun facts.
In this classroom activity, students work in groups to test a variety of fabrics to determine each one's effectiveness as an insulator. The printable five-page handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions to get students thinking about the conditions in Antarctica and the properties of specialty fabrics, illustrated activity directions and a worksheet that includes areas for recording their experiment data, and questions that prompt students to compare their results against their original hypotheses.
This classroom activity gives students an appreciation for the difficulties deep sea researchers must face in order to find hydrothermal vents. Working in small groups, students can complete this Web investigation in a single class period. The printable handout includes a series of inquiry-based questions that prompt students to use what they already know about mid-ocean ridges to hypothesize about how scientists locate deep sea vents, detailed directions for a Web research project that takes them on a virtual deep sea journey investigating hydrothermal vents, and a worksheet that helps students apply their building knowledge to locate a vent in the northern Pacific Ocean.
About 4.6 billion years ago, a cloud of interstellar dust, ice crystals, and gas collapsed to form a rapidly rotating disk with a young sun at its center: our solar system. This comic strip, a supplement to the Hall of Meteorites Educator's Guide, explains the processes that led to the creation of the planets and the asteroid belt.
In this classroom activity, middle school students simulate a "dinosaur dig." The activity opens with background information for teachers about fossils. Working in groups, students excavate fossil sites created in advance by the teacher, or other group of students, and try to reconstruct a chicken skeleton. The activity closes with a two-page student worksheet that directs students to diagram the fossil site and includes probing questions to help them decode their findings.
In this Digital Universe activity, students learn firsthand about estimation strategies and observational bias. They estimate how common several celestial objects are based on their location and make inferences about larger population patterns throughout the galaxy. The printable PDF activity includes illustrated step-by-step instructions for the following hands-on and computer-assisted activities: Introduction to Celestial Objects, Broad Distribution of Objects in the Galaxy and Making Galactic Estimates
This OLogy activity takes a look at some of the more amusing traits that are determined by genetics. Students answer four yes/no questions, and then compare their answers with others.