Friday, January 11, 2008

Sedimentary rocks and digging out your own fossils

Howdy folks!!!
Welcome again to the Pangaea House blog for Mr. Russo’s classroom. Monday and Tuesday of this week our students began to study sedimentary rocks. We began with a PowerPoint about the different ways these rocks are formed and how those layers can be pushed, pulled, bent, folded and broken. Students took notes in their science notebook and drew diagrams of horizontal, folded, un-conforming, and crosscut rocks.
The best introduction to fossils is to let students uncover them the way geologists do… with a hammer and chisel. I buried shells in a mixture of mortar and plaster of Paris. Shells are inexpensive and fragile like real fossils. Students use various tools to extract the shell from the snowball-sized rock and see if they can even get the imprint of the fossil on the surrounding rock. Students document their work by drawing pictures in their science notebook and I walk around and assess their progress to make sure everyone is using the tools correctly.
Next week we will finish up the fossil extraction and learn how scientists use fossils and other dating techniques to determine the absolute and relative ages of rocks and the fossils inside.

If you have any questions please feel email me at

Mark Russo

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