Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Activity 1. Make a Fossil Sandwich 2
Activity 2. Settling Sediment 4
Activity 3. Reconstruct the Past 6
Activity 4. Make Your Own Collection 8
Activity 5. Fossil Jumble 10
Activity 6. Search for Fossil Clues 12
Activity 7. Corals Galore 14
Further Information: Books, web, video, and teacher tools 16
Geological timescale 17

The activities in this booklet, taken together, illustrate many of the concepts that paleontologists must consider daily in their research. Concepts such as size and shape, form and function, and the process of science relate to new national and state standards in science education.

Illustrated by Renee Nester

Paleontological Research Institution

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) serves society by increasing and disseminating information about the history of the Earth and its life. PRI promotes Earth science education through: Earth science educational outreach to school classes and community groups; teacher training workshops; public fossil collecting field trips, interpretive walks and presentations; education publications and products; on- and offsite exhibits; and a website that complements other areas of programming. For detailed information about PRI educational programming please contact the Department of Education at


The Paleontological Research Institution
1259 Trumansburg Road
Ithaca, NY 14850 phone: 607-273-6623 fax: 607-273-6620
Questions about the Website? Tell us!