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There is HUGE learning potential in Sandra Bennett’s Fossil Frenzy in terms of literacy and science understandings for children in the middle grade age bracket. In these engaging activities, students will use their hypothesising, analysing and fine motor skills to uncover scientific discoveries with regard to Australian dinosaurs and the formation of fossils.
*The Adamson Adventures series, and Fossil Frenzy is written by Sandra Bennett, cover by Nicole Matthews, published by Rosella Ridge Books.
Key Curriculum Areas: Years 3 – 6
Responding to literature: Draw connections between personal experiences and the worlds of texts, and share responses with others (ACELT1596)
Creating texts: Plan, draft and publish imaginative, informative and persuasive texts containing key information and supporting details for a widening range of audiences, demonstrating increasing control over text structures and language features (ACELY1694)
Interpreting, analysing, evaluating: Use comprehension strategies to analyse information, integrating and linking ideas from a variety of print and digital sources (ACELY1703)
Nature and development of science: Science involves making predictions and describing patterns and relationships (ACSHE061)
Communicating: Represent and communicate observations, ideas and findings using formal and informal representations (ACSIS071)
After Reading –
What did you learn about Australian dinosaurs from the book, Fossil Frenzy?
What aspect of the book did you find most fascinating? What would you like to learn more about?
Which parts did you most relate to? Can you identify text to text, text to self, and text to world relations?
Discuss the sciences behind the study of dinosaurs and prehistoric artefacts. What places or resources might you use to find out more?
Palaeontology and Archaeology Studies
Fossil Frenzy provides the perfect gateway to a range of engaging archaeology and palaeontology studies. Here are a few topics that can be extended upon, one of which we will focus on below.
- What is a Palaeontologist? What is an Archaeologist? Complete a Venn Diagram to compare the two.
- Fossils – Research different types of fossils and how they were formed.
- Herbivore vs Carnivore vs Omnivore – Write the definitions of each. Draw up a table and find Australian dinosaurs that fit into each category.
- Dinosaur Species Research Report – Make a booklet / poster / digital presentation using the glossary at the back of Fossil Frenzy, and including information about the Cretaceous Period, location with map, dinosaur characteristics, extinction, and so on.
Fossil Frenzy Exploration!
Objectives: To understand and explore the three main groups of fossils – impression fossils, trace fossils, and replacement fossils.
To understand how fossils are formed by creating their own fossil impression.
Exploration: A range of fossil samples
Creation: Plaster of Paris
Clay or Plasticine
Small objects to fossilise
- Impression fossils contain prints, or impressions, of plants or animals, which have landed in mud, silt or sand. Over time, the animal or plant disappears but the impression remains.
- Trace fossils capture the activities of ancient animals, including footprints or droppings, which make an impression in the soft mud, silt or sand.
- Replacement fossils are replicas of things that were once alive, such as trees or sea creatures. As they die, they are covered by mineral-rich water, and as they rot the organic parts are replaced by a hard mineral called silica. This creates a replica fossil of the living thing.
Directions – Explore!
- If you have access to a range of fossilised bones, insects or natural materials, explore the details.
- Ask questions and discuss: What kind of animal / plant do you think it is? What parts of the object can you see? If there are teeth, are they sharp or blunt? How might this have ended up as a fossil? What type of fossil is it? What are the similarities and differences to things you would find today?
Directions – the Fossil Cast:
- Crumble your foil into the shape of a circular bowl. You might like to make a few!
- Shape your clay to fit inside each bowl, making sure not to overfill the clay.
- Make impressions in the clay with your variety of plastic toys and objects. Be sure to press in all the tiny details, and remove the toy.
Directions – the Plaster Fossil:
- Mix your plaster of paris as per the directions.
- Spoon a small amount carefully over the top of your clay impression. Use the back of the spoon to smooth the top to the edges and to fill the small areas.
- Set aside to dry and harden.
Directions – the Reveal:
- Carefully peel back the foil to reveal the clay and plaster.
- Remove the clay slowly as to not break the plaster.
- Study your fossil impression closely to observe all the lines and details! Wow!
*Teaching notes prepared by Romi Sharp. For authors and publishers, please email info.booksontourATgmailDOTcom for a quote.
Follow Sandra Bennett at these links:
The Adamson Adventures 3; Fossil Frenzy is available for purchase at Sandra Bennett’s website |
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