Mammal Skull Versus Reptile: What are the differences?

Mammal Skull Versus Reptile: What are the differences?

DESCRIPTION

DRIVING QUESTION: If you find a fossilized skull, what clues tell you if it is a mammal or reptile?
LEARNING GOALS: Learning goals are for students to collect, analyze and interpret data found in 3D printed fossil skulls. Students will be able to understand what type of information fossils can provide, including the environment where animals lived and the type of food they ate. In addition, they will have a better understanding of how much information can be found from past events regardless of size and or/time periods.
COLLABORATIONS: Students will be placed in groups of 4. Each member of the group will have a job: illustrator, note-taker, measurement specialist, and findings reporter. The illustrator will be responsible for drawing scientific illustrations of the skulls. The note-taker will record observations by the group. The measurement specialist will measure skulls and possibly skull parts. The findings reporter will record the most important findings of the group to report out to the other scientists.
STEM INTEGRATION:  Science: Students will be looking at fossils of mammals and reptiles. Technology | Engineering: Student will be using 3D printed models, they will understand the printing process, and the meaning of “hands-on” and accessible. Mathematics: Students will be using measurement tools for data collection.
ASSESSMENT: Students will be assessed throughout the activity based on their “job”. In order to be effective, students must be engaged and active learners. The teacher can look at each student’s job to check for understanding along the way. The final assessment will be the student’s creation of a fictional reptile or mammal skull. The skull can be created from clay or illustrated. The model must state whether it is a reptile or mammal, and must have evidence of the differences. For example, a reptile should have the cone shaped teeth and extra cavities seen in the fossil skulls. Students must also communicate to the class why they designed their fossilized skull the way that they did. Using reasons and evidence gathered from the observation stage is critical. The final assessment will be the student’s creation of a fictional reptile or mammal skull. The skull can be created from clay (Crayola Model Magic works well) or an illustration. The model must state: Is the creation a reptile or mammal? What evidence do you have to support your identification? For example, a reptile should have the cone shaped teeth and may even have the extra cavities seen in the 3D fossil skulls. Students should be able to communicate to their class why they designed their fossilized skull the way that they did. Using reasons and evidence gathered from the observation stage is critical. Students will be assessed throughout the activity based on their “job”. In order to be effective, students must be engaged and active learners. The teacher can look at each student’s job to check for understanding along the way. The final assessment will be the student’s creation of a fictional reptile or mammal skull. The skull can be created from clay or illustrated. The model must state whether it is a reptile or mammal, and must have evidence of the differences. For example, a reptile should have the cone shaped teeth and extra cavities seen in the fossil skulls. Students must also communicate to the class why they designed their fossilized skull the way that they did. Using reasons and evidence gathered from the observation stage is critical.
ANCHORING EVENT & PROCEDURE: There are a number of skeletal differences between reptiles and mammals. For one, reptiles have a mouth filled with several teeth which are uniform in size and shape. By contrast, mammals tend to have teeth which vary greatly in size and shape. In reptiles, the lower jaw is comprised of several different bones. In mammals, however, the lower jaw is comprised of only one bone – the dentary. The classic reptilian skull also has a small hole, or “third eye” – a trait not found in mammals. Have students work with a group of fossilized skulls (3D printed models). Tell students that paleontologists found these skulls but lost the labels. Tell them that some of them are reptiles and some are mammals. Students will then work together to write down observable differences and similarities in the fossils. Their job is to figure out which are reptiles and which are mammals. Third grade students would not be expected to know the specific reasons and differences among the skulls. However, a third grader can observe and record what they see. They may not be able to identify all the differences but they will find key differences between the reptiles and mammals. This is an important start to their growth as a young scientist.

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