In Unit 1, students launch their learning about the study of fossils and paleontologists through the unit guiding question, “What do paleontologists do?” In the first part of the unit, students engage in a close read aloud of the text Stone Girl Bone Girl by Laurence Anholt. Because this is a narrative non-fiction text, students interact with the literacy standards as they learn about Mary Anning, her love for discovering fossils and her significance as a fossil hunter. Throughout the close read aloud, students engage in questions and activities that help them understand how Mary Anning responds to different challenges in her life, and particularly the habits of character she uses to overcome these challenges. They also engage in speaking and listening and writing activities to help them retell the story.
In the Unit 1 Assessment, students will engage in a 2 day focused read-aloud of the first half of the text The Dog who Dug for Dinosaurs by Shirley Raye Redmond. This assessment asks students to retell the beginning, middle and end of the first half of the text, as well as answer selected response questions. (SL.2.2, RL.2.1, RL.2.2, RL 2.3, RL.2.5, RL2.7). In the second part of the unit, students delve more deeply into the unit guiding question, “What do paleontologists do?” Students develop a basic understanding of what a fossil is and what paleontologists do through engaging videos and a focused read aloud over several days using the text Curious about Fossils by Kate Waters. Through these experiences, students learn about the tools that paleontologists use to find and study fossils, as well as famous paleontologists and their discoveries. Students also begin to use an individual Paleontologist notebook to track their learning.