Excavating Dinosaur Fossils Captain Planet Foundation (CPF)

Standard: Describe how fossils provide evidence of prehistoric life
Time Needed: 50 minutes

Performance Tasks

Student will complete a graphic organizer while viewing a video about current fossil excavation in Utah. Student will create a flow chart describing the process of fossil excavation and connect the process to scientific research.


Fossil, Excavate, Prehistoric


Pass out charts to students (or have them create the chart on their own). Student will fill in the chart while viewing the video This American Land: Digging for Dinosaurs. Lead student discussion after viewing the video using the chart as a starting point.


Teacher will review the process of excavating a fossil, focusing on key terms: fossil, excavate, prehistoric. Teacher and student will discuss how a fossil provides evidence of pre-historic life. Teacher will show photos of dinosaur fossils (easily found online) and have students analyze the type of evidence they are viewing.

Student Practice

Student will create a flow chart describing the process of fossil excavation. Student will draw each step, or use available computers to illustrate each step. The steps are: Choosing a Site, Walking the Area, Digging and Excavating, Transport to the Lab, Reconstruct, Analyze for Information. Student will write a brief summary of what happens during each step on the chart.


Student will write a concluding statement connecting the excavation of fossils to gathering evidence of prehistoric life. If needed, students can use the starter sentence: Fossils provide evidence of prehistoric life because_________________.

Lesson Video

Watch the full episode

Teacher Guide

Download the Resource Packet

Download our Resource Packet to aid you in your lesson plans. Feel free to selectively use the pages you think will most benefit your students.

Resource Packet Resource Packet (532 KB)

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