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What Did You Find?

Main Core Tie

Science - 4th Grade
Standard 4 Objective 2


Utah LessonPlans


Students will use a K-W-L chart to learn about dinosaurs or fossils.




  • The Field Museum
    The Field Museum has the story of Sue, along with pictures and online activities.

Additional Resources


  • Geology Rocks!: 50 Hands-On Activities to Explore the Earth, by Cindy Blobaum; ISBN 1-885593-29-5
  • The Dragon in the Cliff: A Novel Based on the Life of Mary Anning, by Shelia Cole; ISBN 0688101968
  • Dragon in the Rocks: A Story Based on the Childhood of the Early Paleontologist, Mary Anning, by Marie Day; ISBN 1895688388
  • The Fossil Girl: Mary Anning's Dinosaur Discovery, by Catherine Brighton; ISBN 0761314687
  • Ichthyosaurus and Little Mary Anning, by Brooke Hartzog; ISBN 0823953262
  • Mary Anning and the Sea Dragons, by Jeannine Atkins; ISBN 0374348405
  • Mary Anning: The Fossil Hunter, by Dennis Brindell Fradin; ISBN 0382394860
  • Rare Treasure: Mary Anning and Her Remarkable Discoveries, by Don Brown; ISBN 0395922860
  • Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning, by Laurence Anholt; ISBN 0531301486

Intended Learning Outcomes

1. Use Science Process and Thinking Skills
2. Manifest Scientific Attitudes and Interests
3. Understand Science Concepts and Principles
4. Communicate Effectively Using Science Language and Reasoning

Instructional Procedures


Invitation to Learn
Have students say the tongue twister, “She sells seashells by the seashore” three times as fast as they can. Tell them that it is about Mary Anning, who grew up in the early 1800’s on the coast of England. She collected shells to sell in her father’s souvenir shop. When she was only 12 years old, she discovered her first fossil skeleton. It was a dolphinlike reptile called an Ichthyosaur. She found many other marine fossils during her life that are now displayed in museums all over the world.

Instructional Procedures

  1. Students make a K-W-L chart in their journal.
  2. List things that they know about dinosaurs and fossils in the“K” column.
  3. Write questions about dinosaurs or fossils in the “W” column that they would like to find answers to (e.g., Why did the dinosaurs and other prehistoric organisms become extinct?).
  4. Read information from the Dinosaur Track Pack and The Story of Sue handout.
  5. Students list what they learned in the “L” section of the chart.
  6. Students meet in small groups and share what they learned from their reading.
  7. Share an example of what a report about the history of dinosaurs would look like.
  8. Students write a 300-word (one page) report about the history of dinosaurs. It should include information that students learned from their research.


  • Students use the Internet to search for information about other paleontologists, such as Othniel Charles Marsh who made many discoveries in the 1860’s.
  • Students illustrate their reports with their own drawings or pictures from the Internet.
  • Some students may need to sit up close to see the pictures and other items in the Dinosaur Track Pack.
  • Students may work in groups or with a partner to read The Story of Sue.

Family Connections

  • Take a family fieldtrip to one of the many places where fossils have been found or displayed in museums throughout the state of Utah.
  • As a family, create a fossil and shell collection in the home from visits family members have made to a seashore.
  • Read books together about dinosaurs, fossils, and famous paleontologists.

Assessment Plan


Research Basis

Fountas, I. C., Pinnell, G. S. (2001). Guiding Readers and Writers Grades 3-6. Teaching Comprehension, Genre, and Content Literacy, Chapter 15.

Literature study contributes to student learning in five ways: expanding reading comprehension strategies, learning to think critically, appreciating the aesthetic qualities of literature, developing communication skills, and extending writing skills.

Marzano, R.J., Pickering, D.J., & Pollock, J.E. (2001). Classroom Instruction That Works: Research-Based Strategies for Increasing Student Achievement, Chapter 3.

Summarizing and note-taking are two of the most useful academic skills for students to cultivate. They provide students with tools for identifying and understanding the most important aspects of what they are learning.

Created: 12/20/2005
Updated: 02/05/2018