For thousands of years, people have discovered fossils. They have wondered about the creatures that left them. In ancient times, fossils inspired myths. Stories were told about monsters and other incredible creatures. For example, dinosaur fossils discovered in China two thousand years ago were thought to be dragon bones.

Do you know what fossils are? Do you know how they form? And do you know what they can tell us about the past?


SCI-MS.ESS1.04 Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth’s 4.6-billion-year-old history.

SCI-MS.ESS2.03 Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.


Key Concepts

  • Definition and types of fossils
  • How fossils form
  • What can be learned from fossils

Lesson Objectives

  • Explain what fossils are.
  • Describe how fossils form.
  • State what scientists can learn from fossils.