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Xenosmilus

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Overview:
In this lesson, students play the roles of paleontologists on a dig. They “unearth” a few fossils at a time and attempt to reconstruct the animal the fossils represent.

Author/Source:
UCMP

Grade:
9-12

Discipline:
Life Science, Nature and Process of Science

Time:
one class period

Concepts:
Correspondence to the Next Generation Science Standards is indicated in parentheses after each relevant concept. See our conceptual framework for details.

  • Science focuses on natural phenomena and processes.

  • Scientists strive to test their ideas with evidence from the natural world; a hallmark of science is exposing ideas to testing. (P3, P4, P6, P7, NOS2)

  • Scientific knowledge is open to question and revision as new ideas surface and new evidence is discovered. (P4, P6, NOS3)

  • Scientific ideas cannot be absolutely proven.

  • The real process of science is complex, iterative, and can take many different paths.

  • The process of science involves observation, exploration, testing, communication, and application.

  • Scientists test their ideas (hypotheses and theories) by figuring out what expectations are generated by an idea and making observations to find out whether those expectations are borne out. (P4, P6)

  • Scientists can test ideas about events and processes long past, very distant, and not directly observable.

  • Different scientists may interpret the same data in different ways. (P7)

  • Hypotheses are proposed explanations for a narrow set of phenomena. (P6)

  • Hypotheses are usually inspired and informed by previous research and/or observations. They are not guesses. (P6)

  • Scientists usually work collaboratively. (NOS7)

  • Science relies on the accumulated knowledge of the scientific community to move forward. (NOS5)

Teacher background:

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