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The Mystery Box
A Fossil Lesson Plan

In this fossil lesson plan, A mystery item is hidden inside the box. Students use single-word adjectives to describe the item in the box until one of the students in the circle names the object.

When the item chosen aligns with Clock of Eras or Timeline of Life (fossils, rocks, minerals, etc.), students can use names of the eras or periods as descriptors.

Goals of this fossil lesson plan:

  1. Practice with adjectives
  2. Review of geologic or paleologic information from the Clock of Eras or Timeline of Life.

Materials for this fossil lesson plan:

  • A cardboard box, painted and decorated with question marks. The box should be open on one side only so an object can be placed inside. (Note: Some light needs to get inside the box while the student is peeking in. Otherwise the object won’t show clearly enough to get good descriptors. Cut a small opening in one side for students to use as a peep hole. If you are using a box with a lid, you could add side flaps to let light in while raising the lid, but so the object isn’t visible to the other students. Alternatively, use a large cardboard box with a cut out in the back. If you cover the cut out with a piect of fabric, there will be enough light when the student lifts the fabric to take a look.
  • A few fossils, rocks or minerals that relate to the era being studied on the Clock of Eras or Timeline of Life.Presentation of this fossil lesson plan:We’re going to play a little game today. Inside this mystery box is an object that relates to our Clock of Eras (or Timeline of Life) studies. One of you will get to describe the object with one word at a time until someone in the circle thinks they know what it is. When someone guesses correctly, I’ll put another object inside the box and that person can give the clues. Before we start, what are some words you would use to describe this object. SHOW A FOSSIL.FOR A BRACHIOPOD, STUDENTS MIGHT USE WORDS SUCH AS CLAM-LIKE, GRAY, PALEOZOIC, CAMBRIAN, RIDGES, PUFFY, ETC. IF THE STUDENTS DON’T COME UP WITH THE ERA OR PERIOD ON THEIR OWN, YOU CAN PROMPT THEM A BIT DURING THE EXAMPLE.
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