Traveling Trunk

Rocks and Fossils Traveling Trunk

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Grade Level:
Upper Elementary: Third Grade through Fifth Grade
State Standards:
AZ - Science:S2-C1-PO1,S1-C1-PO1S6, C1-PO2, S6, C1, PO3: S6, C1, PO4: S6, C2, PO3:S6, C1, PO4: S6, C1, PO3 - Social Studies, 6SC-E4


The purpose of the Traveling Trunk program is to “provide opportunities to experience” and “foster…understanding and appreciation of park resources” within the classroom amongst students and teachers from Arizona, surrounding states, and throughout the continental United States. This curriculum-based program was developed by park rangers and educators to meet both the needs of the park and educators.

The lessons included in the Traveling Trunks center around the natural and cultural resources found in the park. Lessons are aligned with Arizona Academic Content Standards of Science with some Social Studies. If you do not live in Arizona, you can cross reference the Arizona standards listed in each lesson with your specific state’s standards.


Rocks and Fossils Theme
The study of the Triassic rocks and fossils protected at Petrified Forest National Park and comprehension of the processes of deposition, erosion, and geologic change will lead to knowledge of ancient climate changes and an understanding of changes in today’s global climate.

After completing all the lessons within this trunk, students will understand: 

  • That the rocks and fossils at Petrified Forest Nation Park represent the Late Triassic Epoch, over 200 million years ago, and how the Triassic environment was different from today’s environment.
  • How deposition, erosion, and geologic forces create and change the landscape.
  • How fossils, including petrified wood, form, and that fossils represent animals and plants that were once alive in the ancient past.
  • How rocks and fossils help scientists study past climate changes.
  • The role of national parks in protecting national and cultural resources for future generations.


After completing all the lessons within this trunk, students will be able to: 

  • Describe how the Late Triassic environment, represented by the rocks and fossils at Petrified Forest National Park, was different from today’s environment.
  • Describe how deposition and erosion shape the landscape.
  • Describe how rocks and fossils represent ancient climates and ecosystems.
  • Define fossil.
  • Discuss how studying ancient climate changes help scientists better understand climate change occurring around the world today.
  • Discuss the role of national parks in the protection of natural and cultural resources and why this is important for both scientists and the general public.


The trunks can be borrowed for up to three weeks. The cost of the trunk is only the return shipping cost back to the park via USPS, FedEx or UPS. You can estimate that cost with the information below.

Trunk weight: 55 lbs
Dimensions: L-32inches, H-15inches, W18 inches
Zip Code: 86028

To request this trunk call the education coordinator at (928)-524-6228 x264


This document includes lesson plans and material lists. This material is also sent in a binder with the trunk.

Download Rocks and Fossils Traveling Trunk Teacher's Guide

Last updated: March 24, 2018