Teaching Earth Science With Children’s Literature: Fossils Tell of Long Ago

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“Magic School Bus” with a splash Jurassic Park for kids crossed my mind when I read this classroom friendly book about fossils! The book Fossils Tell of Long Ago, by Aliki, provides an in depth look at the different types of fossils, how they form and even a simple in class activity to do!

Aliki unfolds the book as a story that explains the formation of fossils to a group of students who looks like they are at a museum learning about fossils. The book clearly explains some of the scientific vocabulary associated with fossils but never gets so technical that a young student would be lost:

“Millions of years ago a fly was caught in the sticky sap of a tree. The sap hardened and became a fossil called amber. Amber looks like yellow glass. The fly was perfectly preserved in the amber (Page 20).”

The text is also nicely complemented by illustrations that further clarify the text. Throughout the book the students examine fossils of fish, plants, dinosaurs and even fossils found in the Arctic and in amber. Not only does the book explain the formation of fossils but it explains how they are used, where they can be found and who finds these “stones”. One of the most impressive aspect of the book is that is has some repetition that drives home the key concepts about fossils but never becomes boring or unnecessary. The book ends with a quick activity that could be done in your class, where students make imprints of their hands in clay. If you are familiar with the “Magic School Bus” series, this book gives off a very similar vibe with both the layout and approach but seems to more manageable for a younger student to read.

Curriculum Connections
This book can provide students with an introduction to fossils and how animals lives are impacted by the land environments around them. Students can learn about the change over time that occurs in natural things. In Virgina this would address the SOL where students need to understand that change occurs over time at both fast and slow rates and that these changes can be noted and measured in natural things (Science Standards of Learning K.9 a, b).

Additional Resources

Book: Fossils Tell of Long Ago
Author&Illustrator:
Aliki
Publisher:
HarperTrophy
Publication Date:
1990
Pages:
 32 Pages
Grades:
K-2
ISBN: 
0064450937