In Unit 3, students shift from learning about fossils to taking on the role of being paleontologists from a narrative perspective. They do this primarily through the creation of their performance task: a narrative that captures the moment they discover a fossil as a paleontologist. Students begin the unit by reading The Big Dinosaur Dig by Esther Ripley, and portions of this book serve as a mentor text for narrative writing. Students work toward answering the unit guiding question, “How do writers tell compelling stories?” as they analyze the different techniques that Esther Ripley uses in her writing. Students then hone their narrative writing skills by writing a narrative from the point of view of Josh, the paleontologist in The Big Dinosaur Dig.
This narrative serves as scaffolding to prepare students for the unit assessment, a two-part assessment that also serves as part of the performance task for this module. For the unit assessment, students choose a picture of an interesting fossil and craft their own narratives of the moment they discovered this fossil. For Part I of the assessment, they draft their narrative, and in Part II, they revise it based on teacher feedback. Students then complete their performance task by adding detailed drawings to the beginning, middle, and end of their narratives (W.2.3, W.2.5, L.2.1d and L.2.2).