Science Sampler: Fossil sharks—Learning from and about the past by: Catalina Pimiento and Rose M. Pringle

Journal Article

In this article, the authors describe a series of science activities for middle school students that focuses on the study of fossil sharks through an examination of the morphological characteristics of their teeth by using models, drawings, and websites. The activities presented are intended to guide students toward an understanding of timescales and fossils as providing important evidence of how life and environmental conditions have changed over time.

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Reviews (3)
  • on Fri Jan 06, 2012 12:36 PM

Using fossilized shark teeth students learn about geology, geography and paleontology. These authors provide a series of activities that link these three areas and provide students with insights about how fossils help scientists understand the world a long time ago. These activities would certainly spice up what students might otherwise consider a boring topic. They are certainly going to enhance student’s interest in this topic.

Adah  (San Antonio, TX)
Adah (San Antonio, TX)

  • on Tue Oct 25, 2011 10:04 AM

I especially liked this activity because it focuses on the movement of continents and allows students to investigate what this truly means. It's one thing to tell students this and show them diagrams about it - and quite another thing to help them realize that it means that environments have changed over time and that means, "Yes, sharks used to live where were there's now only land." This is a hard concept for some students to grasp. For an introductory activity, I think Fossil Sharks does an excellent job of clearing up any previous misconceptions and preparing students to move forward.

Kendra Young  (Lake Stevens, WA)
Kendra Young (Lake Stevens, WA)

  • on Sat Jul 30, 2011 11:22 PM

This set of activities presents a series of lessons on both fossils and how the earth's surface has changed over time. This is not an inquiry lesson, although suggestions for ways it might be altered to allow more student ownership are presented but not emphasized. It is an interesting set of lessons, but misconceptions related to geologic time are not well addressed. It does do a nice job of presenting students with examples of how the land's surface has changed over time to allow fossils of sharks to now be found on areas that are land. With additional lessons on geologic time, these lessons could be a part of a larger unit that meets student needs.

Tina Harris  (Fairmount, IN)
Tina Harris (Fairmount, IN)

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