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Fossils: Standards

Idaho Common Core State Standards

Here are correlations to the National Common Core Language and Math standards and to the Idaho State Science Standards. If you'd like, you may go directly to the Idaho science standards for this topic. For more information about the overall standards, see the complete Idaho Content Standards for Science, the Next Generation Science Standards, the Common Core Language standards, or the Common Core Math standards.



CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.K.2 [CCSS page]

Use a combination of drawing, dictating, and writing to compose informative/explanatory texts in which they name what they are writing about and supply some information about the topic.

Suggested Lesson

Help students make a rubbing of a fossil. Then have them write about their fossil or fossils in general, telling what they understand about what fossils are, how they are formed, and what animal their fossil came from.

Second Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.2.2 [CCSS page]

Recount or describe key ideas or details from a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

Suggested Lesson

After having discussed how a fossil is formed, have students get into groups where they as a group must retell the steps of fossil formation. Have them create a chart or poster of the process.

Fifth Grade

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.5.7 [CCSS page]

Conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.

Suggested Lesson

Provide students with fossils from the “Magic Bag” activity. When they have completed the identification of their fossil, have them research the animal that formed their fossil and do a museum-style write-up to put next to their fossil to put on display.



CCSS.Math.Content.K.MD.B.3 [CCSS page]

Classify objects into given categories; count the numbers of objects in each category and sort the categories by count.¹

Suggested Lesson

Sort images of dinosaur fossils into two legged or four legged groups.

First Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.1.NBT.C.4 [CCSS page]

Add within 100, including adding a two-digit number and a one-digit number, and adding a two-digit number and a multiple of 10, using concrete models or drawings and strategies based on place value, properties of operations, and/or the relationship between addition and subtraction; relate the strategy to a written method and explain the reasoning used. Understand that in adding two-digit numbers, one adds tens and tens, ones and ones; and sometimes it is necessary to compose a ten.

Suggested Lesson

Create a numeric code for the letters of the alphabet: 1-a, 2-b, 3-c, etc. Have students spell fossil terms or names and add the letters together to get a total.

Third Grade

CCSS.Math.Content.3.MD.B.3 [CCSS page]

Draw a scaled picture graph and a scaled bar graph to represent a data set with several categories. Solve one- and two-step “how many more” and “how many less” problems using information presented in scaled bar graphs. For example, draw a bar graph in which each square in the bar graph might represent 5 pets.

Suggested Lesson

Provide each student with a chocolate chip cookie, a napkin and some toothpicks. Have students excavate their chocolate chips while trying to keep the chips whole and undamaged. When they have finished their “dig”, graph how many chips were whole or nearly whole and the damaged chips.



Life Sciences: LS1-K-1[ICS page]

Use observations to describe patterns of what plants and animals (including humans) need to survive.

Supporting Content:

All animals need food in order to live and grow. All living things need water.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-K-1 [ICS page]

Use a model to represent the relationship between the needs of different plants and animals and the places they live.

Supporting Content:

Living things need water, air, and resources from the land, and they live in places that have the things they need.

Second Grade

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-2-1 [ICS page]

Use information from several sources to provide evidence that Earth events can occur quickly or slowly.

Supporting Content:

Some events happen very quickly; others occur very slowly, over a time period much longer than one can observe.

Third Grade

Life Sciences: LS1-3-1 [ICS page]

Construct an argument that some animals form groups that help members survive.

Supporting Content:

Being part of a group helps animals obtain food, defend themselves, and cope with changes. Groups may serve different functions and vary dramatically in size.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-3-2 [ICS page]

Obtain and combine information to describe climates in different regions of the world.

Supporting Content:

Climate describes a range of an area's typical weather conditions.

Fourth Grade

Life Sciences: LS2-4-1 [ICS page]

Develop a model to describe the movement of matter among plants, animals, decomposers, and the environment.

Supporting Content:

Organisms are related in food webs in which some animals eat plants for food and other animals eat the animals that eat plants. Matter cycles between the air and soil and among plants, animals, and microbes as these organisms live and die. Decomposition eventually restores (recycles) some materials back to the soil. Organisms can survive only in environments in which their particular needs are met.

Earth and Space Structures: ESS1-4-1 [ICS page]

Identify evidence from patterns in rock formations and fossils in rock layers for changes in a landscape over time to support an explanation for changes in a landscape over time.

Supporting Content:

Local, regional, and global patterns of rock formations reveal changes over time due to earth or other forces. The presence and location of certain fossil types indicate the order in which rock layers were formed. Examples of evidence from patterns could include rock layers with marine shell fossils above rock layers with plant fossils and no shells, indicating a change from land to water over time.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS3-4-1 [ICS page]

Obtain and combine information to describe that energy and fuels are derived from natural resources and their uses affect the environment.

Supporting Content:

Energy and fuels that humans use are derived from natural Earth sources, and their use affects the environment in multiple ways. Non-renewable energy resources include fossil fuels. Examples of environmental effects include air pollution from burning fossil fuels.

Fifth Grade

Life Sciences: LS2-5-1 [ICS page]

Analyze and interpret data from fossils to provide evidence of the organisms and the environments in which they lived long ago.

Supporting Content:

Some kinds of plants and animals that once lived on Earth are no longer found anywhere. Fossils provide evidence about the types of organisms that lived long ago and also about the nature of their environments. Examples of data could include type, size, and distributions of fossil organisms. Examples of fossils and environments could include marine fossils found on dry land, tropical plant fossils found in Arctic areas, and fossils of extinct organisms. Assessment is limited to major fossil types and relative ages.

Life Sciences: LS2-5-3 [ICS page]

Construct an argument with evidence that in a particular habitat some organisms can survive well, some survive less well, and some cannot survive at all.

Supporting Content:

Examples of evidence could include needs and characteristics of the organisms and habitats involved.

Life Sciences: LS2-5-4 [ICS page]

Make a claim about the merit of a solution to a problem caused when the environment changes and the types of plants and animals that live there may change.

Supporting Content:

Populations live in a variety of habitats, and change in those habitats affects the organisms living there. When the environment changes in ways that affect a place's physical characteristics, temperature, or availability of resources, some organisms survive and reproduce, others move to new locations, yet others move into the transformed environment, and some die.

Sixth Grade/Middle School

Life Sciences: LS2-MS-1 [ICS page]

Analyze and interpret data to provide evidence for the effects of resource availability on organisms and populations of organisms in an ecosystem.

Supporting Content:

Organisms, and populations of organisms, are dependent on their environmental interactions both with other living things and with nonliving factors. In any ecosystem, organisms and populations with similar requirements for food, water, oxygen, or other resources may compete with each other for limited resources, access to which consequently constrains their growth and reproduction. Growth of organisms and population increases are limited by access to resources.

Life Sciences: LS2-MS-5 [ICS page]

Construct an argument supported by empirical evidence that changes to physical or biological components of an ecosystem affect populations.

Supporting Content:

Ecosystems are dynamic in nature; their characteristics can vary over time. Disruptions to any physical or biological component of an ecosystem can lead to shifts in all its populations.

Life Sciences: LS4-MS-1 [ICS page]

Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

Supporting Content:

The collection of fossils and their placement in chronological order is known as the fossil record and documents the change of many life forms throughout the history of the Earth. Emphasis is on finding patterns of changes in the level of complexity and the chronological order of fossil appearance in the rock layers.

Life Sciences: LS4-MS-2 [ICS page]

Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer relationships.

Supporting Content:

Anatomical similarities and differences between various organisms living today and between them and organisms in the fossil record enable the classification of living things.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS1-MS-4 [ICS page]

Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's history.

Supporting Content:

The geologic time scale interpreted from rock strata provides a way to organize Earth's history. Analyses of rock strata and the fossil record provide relative dates, not an absolute scale. Emphasis is on how analyses of rock formations and the fossils they contain are used to establish relative ages of major events in Earth's history. Examples of Earth's major events could range from being very recent (such as the last Ice Age or the earliest fossils of homo sapiens) to very old (such as the formation of Earth or the earliest evidence of life). Examples can include the formation the evolution or extinction of particular living organisms.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS2-MS-3 [ICS page]

Analyze and interpret data on the distribution of fossils and rocks, continental shapes, and seafloor structures to provide evidence of the past plate motions.

Supporting Content:

Maps of ancient land and water patterns, based on investigations of rocks and fossils, make clear how Earth's plates have moved great distances, collided, and spread apart. Examples of data include similarities of rock and fossil types on different continents.

Earth and Space Sciences: ESS3-MS-1 [ICS page]

Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence for how the uneven distributions of Earth's mineral, energy, and groundwater resources are the result of past and current geoscience processes.

Supporting Content:

Humans depend on Earth's land, ocean, atmosphere, and biosphere for many different resources. Examples of uneven distributions of resources as a result of past processes include petroleum {locations of the burial of organic sediments and subsequent geologic traps).

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