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Phenomenal Explorations™: What Can Fossils Tell Us About Past Environments? Kit

(backordered: in stock 1/31/24)


Grade 3. Over 1 lesson consisting of 4 activities, students investigate phenomena related to what fossils can tell us about past environments. Phenomenal Explorations™ kits support the NGSS innovations of phenomena and three-dimensional learning through integrating literacy and science investigation.

Kit includes a teacher’s guide, a 12-month individual license for 1 teacher and up to 32 students on CarolinaScienceOnline.com, and enough hands-on materials for a class of 32 students. In addition to the lesson activities, the teacher’s guide includes a pre-assessment, a post-assessment, and a scenario-based assessment. Also included are remediation activities to support struggling students and enrichment activities to challenge students who demonstrate a high level of comfort with the lesson’s concepts.

To replenish items consumed during the teaching of the kit, purchase individual components listed on the “What’s Included” tab.

Next Generation Science Standards Alignment*:
Performance Expectations

  • 3-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and environments in which they lived long ago.
  • 3-LS4-3: Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Disciplinary Core Ideas

  • LS4.A: Evidence of Common Ancestry and Diversity
  • LS4.C: Adaptation

Science and Engineering Practices

  • Analyzing and Interpreting Data
  • Engaging in Argument from Evidence

Crosscutting Concepts

  • Patterns
  • Cause and Effect
  • Scale, Proportion, and Quantity

Connections to English Language Arts (ELA) and Math
English Language Arts

  • RI.3.1: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for the answers.
  • RI.3.4: Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3 topic or subject area.
  • W.3.2: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
  • SL.3.1: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-ono-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade 3 topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.


  • NBT.A.1: Use place value understanding to round whole numbers to the nearest 10 or 100.
  • G.A.2: Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs.

Activity Summaries:
(10–45 minutes)
An optional pre-assessment activity identifies students’ prior knowledge of the lesson’s concepts related to what organisms need, where they live, and the structures that help them survive, the process and scientific importance of fossilization and helps teachers identify and address misconceptions and reviews the scientific concepts that are foundational to the lesson.

Activity 1—Literacy and Science (30 minutes)
Students make initial observations of and generate questions about a fossil. A literacy-based Student Activity Sheet introduces students to fossils and fossil formation. Students compare fossil shark teeth to modern shark teeth.

Strengthening NGSS Connections
Activity 2
—Analyze Data (45–60 minutes)
Students predict where fossil teeth might be located. They analyze data from shark tooth fossils collected worldwide. Students create a table of the data that includes the size of a tooth, its age, and the area in which it was found. Students use their data to describe how fossils provide evidence of organisms that lived long ago. Students look for patterns in the data to describe relationships between present-day sharks and the general areas (warm oceans) in which they are typically found.

Activity 3—Construct an Explanation (45 minutes)
Students describe what sharks need to survive and the characteristics of environments that would likely support sharks. Next, students gather evidence on shark adaptations and use that evidence to construct an argument for which features of an environment support sharks.

Activity 4—Review and Make a Claim (30–45 minutes)
Students revisit fossil data to look for patterns in the fossils found in an area. Students analyze fossils from a dig site, describe the types of organisms that are present, and explain how the fossils can provide evidence for the type of environment that was present at the time the organisms were alive. Students construct a claim supported with evidence for how fossils can be used to learn about environments from long ago.

Scenario-Based Summative Assessment
Scenario-based assessments blend science and reading comprehension and relate to the fundamental scientific concepts from the lesson. Students apply their knowledge to answer questions based on a lesson-specific scenario.

*Next Generation Science Standards® is a registered trademark of WestEd. Neither WestEd nor the lead states and partners that developed the Next Generation Science Standards were involved in the production of this product, and do not endorse it.


What’s Included:
  • 1 Teacher's Guide
  • 1 Carolina Science Online® Resources (1-year subscription for 1 teacher and up to 32 students)
  • 16 Shark Teeth, 0.5"
  • 32 Lens, Dual Hand
  • 18 Cup with Lid, 1 oz
  • 16 Ruler Cards
  • 16 Paleontologist Field Notes Card Set
Return Policy:

If for any reason you are not satisfied with this item, it is eligible for a return, exchange, refund, or credit up to 180 days from date of purchase. Restrictions may apply. Returns & Exchanges Policy.