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The Fossils Suitcase provides hands- on opportunities to discover what fossils are, how they are formed, and why they are important. Activities include classifying fossils, having a class "Fossil Dig", making fossil rubbings, and even making a "Fossil Sandwich".

Materials List


Baculites, Snail shells, petrified wood, fossil teeth, crinoids stems, and fern impressions.


Fossil Activity cards, magnifying lens, The Story of the Earth Poster, Fossils, Rocks and Time Booklet


Have the students classify the fossils by type (animal, plant) or by age, material, or any other classification. Let the students decide on how to classify them. Discuss and compare findings.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: O.V.1.4.6, O.V.1.2.9, IR.12.3.7, PS.5.2.1, PS.5.4.1)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: O.V.1.5.3, O.V.1.5.6, R.10.5.14)

Have the students make their own fossils. Lesson plans included in the binder.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: A.2.5, A.2.7)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: A.2.5, ESS.9.5.3)

Hold a class "Fossil Dig". Plans included in the binder.
Make fossil rubbings. Compare with present day creatures or plants.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: A.2.7, IR.12.3.7)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: A.2.7, ESS.9.5.2)

Study tree and leaf fossils. Draw the living tree these fossils came from. Would it be a pine type tree? A palm? How can you tell?

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: IR.12.3.7)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: O.V.1.5.6, ESS.9.5.2)

Pick a fossil from the collection. Draw a picture of it. Then draw a picture of what you think it may have looked like when it was alive. Write a short story explaining how this fossil may have been formed.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: W.4.3.2, W.4.4.6, W.5.2.2)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.4.7.7, W.5.6.1, ESS.9.5.3)

Except for seashells, the most common fossils are those of large animals who died near the water, often in swamps. What animals today do you think might become fossils? Write as many as you can think of. Then write another list of animals not likely to become fossils.

  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks K-4: W.4.4.2)
  • (AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: W.5.6.2, R.10.5.14)

Make a "Strata Cake" to show how the layers of Earth stack up. Plans included in the binder.
(AR Curriculum Frameworks 5-8: ESS.9.6.2)
Make a Fossil Sandwich. Plans included in the binder.
Have the students complete the "Puzzled by Fossils" crossword puzzle or the "Fossil Word Find". Included in the binder.