Search Science4Inquiry

Layers and Laws Lesson Overview
The Law of Superposition and Index Fossils

Students will develop an understanding of how fossils give scientists clues as to what the early Earth was like in the past. Students will also show how fossils can be used to relatively date rock layers using the Law of Superposition and index fossils.


Download the Lesson Plan

Download the Worksheet

This game is curently under development. Stay tuned!

2 Class Periods (90 Minutes)
Classroom or Lab
PTI Inquiry
3.4, 3.6, 5.3
Lesson Components Time Inquiry Skills Tech. Used Engage Level Brief Description
Engage 10 min 3.6, 5.3 Computer with Projector or Overhead Projector 3 Students look at a set of tracks made by suspects in a robbery. Using the clues, students have to figure out who was the thief.
Explore 40 min 3.4, 3.6, 5.3 none 3 Students sequence cards with sketches of fossils to make inferences and develop an understanding of how rock layers are deposited.
Explain 10 min 3.4, 3.6, 5.3 none 2 Students explain their sequencing of the cards and provide evidence for their inferences. Students make predictions about the ecosystem at the time that the fossilized organisms existed.
Expand 45 min 3.4, 3.6, 5.3 none 3 Students choose one of the fossil layers from the Explore section, and draw what the climate of the Earth was like during that time based on the fossils.
Evaluate 10 min 3.4, 3.6, 5.3 none 1 Written assessment

Level of Student Engagement
1     Low     Listen to lecture, observe the teacher, individual reading, teacher demonstration, teacher-centered instruction
2     Medium     Raise questions, lecture with discussion, record data, make predictions, technology interaction with assistance
3     High     Hands-on activity or inquiry; critique others, draw conclusions, make connections, problem-solve, student-centered

We love your feedback!

Please share your comments (e.g., strengths, areas for improvement, your implementation results if you taught the lesson in your class, and any modifications you made). Thanks!