Kylie's Fossil Find
- Grade Level:
- Kindergarten-Fifth Grade
- Paleontology, Writing
- 60 minutes
- National/State Standards:
- K.R.1.3; K.R.2.1; 1.R.3.3; 2.R.3.1; 3.LVS.1.1; 3.LVS.1.2; 4.LVS.1.1; 4.LVS.1.2; 5.LVS.1.1; 5.LVS1.2
Fossil, buried, butte, paleontologist, fragmented, erosion, rare, limestone, protect, excavate, lab, specimen, museum, destroyed
OverviewIn May 2010, a seven-year old girl named Kylie found a fossil near the visitor center at Badlands National Park. She did the right thing. She reported her find to rangers. It turned out to be a rare and well-preserved saber tooth cat fossil.
This nonfiction story will help students understand the science of paleontology and the importance of protecting our natural resources. Furthermore, they may be able to better identify with the real life story of another young student.
After listening to and watching the teacher's presentation, students will be able to list and describe several events in this nonfiction story.
In May 2010, a seven-year old girl named Kylie found a fossil near the visitor center at Badlands National Park. She did the right thing. She reported her find to rangers. It turned out to be an exceptionally rare and well-preserved saber tooth cat fossil. The fossil is both scientifically significant and of general interest to the public. The story received a lot of attention both locally and nationally.
Show the "Kylie's Fossil Find" PowerPoint to the class. Either read or summarize the accompanying script (PDF). Another option is to print the script and have students follow along, read aloud, or read independently.
Further discuss images from selected slides. Lead a classroom discussion about Kylie and her fossil find. Discussion prompts:
- Why did Kylie report her fossil find to a ranger?
- What would you do if you found a fossil?
- Do you think it would be fun to be a paleontologist? Why or why not?
- What kind of tools do paleontologists use?
- What did saber tooth cats look like? How did the one in the story die?
- Badlands National Park's Saber Site and Fossil Preparation Lab
- Badlands National Park's photographs of the Saber Site and Fossil Preparation Lab (Flickr site)
- Watch the "Kylie's Fossil Find" video (60 MB version or 10 MB version) and read the transcript (PDF).
- Write a journal entry or reflection.
- Describe how the saber tooth cat in the story died.
- Tell about a family outing that you have been on.
- Create a short book based on Kylie's fossil find. Use pictures and text from the PowerPoint or have students draw and write their own pages. Have students recall the order of the events in the story.
- Have the students research Kylie's fossil find. Google-search "Kylie Ferguson Fossil" and see what news articles appear.
- Badlands Suite: Land of Stone and Light, From Field to Lab, Multiple Perspectives (DVD)
- Fossils Tell of Long Ago by Aliki (children's book)
- Prehistoric Journey: A History of Life on Earth by Kirk R. Johnson and Richard K. Stucky (children's reference book ith many pictures)