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Layers of Change (Horse Fossils)

Time Frame:
1 class period that runs 60 minutes.

Group Size:
Small Groups


Students match horse fossils to their time periods and pictures to emphasize, the concept that more recent rock layers are more likely to contain fossils that are similar to existing species than are older layers.

Main Curriculum Tie:
SEEd - Grade 7 (2017)
Strand 7.5: Changes in Species Over Time 7.5.2

Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth, under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.


NOTE: all items need to be cut away from one another.


Student Prior Knowledge:
Students should already be familiar with the law of superposition and have an understanding that the fossil record shows that organisms have changed over time.

Instructional Procedures:

  1. Hook activity – show a YouTube video that perhaps discusses how modern horses are bred to perform different tasks and that they look different from their primitive ancestors
  2. Read the introduction on the student sheet with the students.
  3. Explain the procedures to students to match their pictures and dates.
  4. When the students have shown you their work, have them fill in their data table and answer the analysis questions.

Assessment Plan:
Scoring Rubric:

Foldable neat, followed all directions.......………….4
Answered questions correctly…………..………………..4
Conclusion displays learning goal……………………..4

Analysis question answers:

  1. Horses are bigger, have a central toe that is larger than the others and have changed in shape.
  2. An individual horse did not change but may have been more successful and had more offspring with the successful traits.
  3. Animals in the top layers are more recent ancestors.
  4. The hoof may be more successful on rough or hard ground.
  5. More abundant food or better success moving to it.
  6. A variety of answers are possible, faster, jump higher, look pretty, good temperament.

Lesson Design by Jordan School District Teachers and Staff.

Utah LessonPlans

Created Date :
Oct 06 2014 09:24 AM