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The Ova Prima Lesson Plans Databank

Unit Title: Paleo-Dig
Author: Bret Mannigan, Little City Elementary School
Subject Area: Science
Grade: 3-6
Time Required: 1 hour class time 

Learning Outcomes:

Students will understand the use of simple grids and the basic principles and skills used on a paleontological dig, such as the Illampi Mound Colony.


Paper plates
String, tape, and a knife for cutting
A large deep pan of layered brownies (use chocolate, peanut butter, and white chocolate brownie mixes) with almonds, peanuts, banana chips, dried apricots, and raisins baked in (students with nut allergies should not eat the nuts)
Toothpicks and clean paintbrushes for digging


Teacher presents a lesson on how Shippen and Willard prepared the dig site at the Illampi Mound Colony.  Teacher should explain the principle of systematic investigation of an area by the use of quadrants.  Teacher asks the students how they  might apply the idea of quadrants to the pan of layered brownies.  Teacher should be prepared to try a variety of methods suggested by the students, including taping strings across the top of the pan or simply cutting the brownies into squares with a knife.

Brownie quadrants are then placed on paper plates and each student can begin their "dig" using toothpicks and paintbrushes to carefully clear the brownie cake away from any "finds".  Students should record their dig activity on a data sheet, mapping where they found things and at what level.

When the activity has ended, students and teacher may of course eat the brownies.

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