Examining the Fossil Record


During a unit on evolution, students learn a little about geologic time and how we use the fossil record to establish lineages.  In this project, students cut out pictures of fictional fossils and arrange them on a chart to show how one species become two species.  

The activity includes a description of phyletic and divergent speciation and students must ultimately decide which type occurred in their population.  In addition, analysis questions have students summarize the changes that took place and compare gradualism to punctuated equilibrium.

Large poster board or similar is necessary for arranging the fossils and identifying the time period, which goes from the Wyomington to Idahoan periods.   Students work in groups to build their poster.

Grade Level:  9-12  |  Time Required:  1.5 – 2 hours