Establish Prior Knowledge
Call on students to share what they know about paleontology and how paleontologists look for fossils. If necessary, direct them to this web site:
Tell students that in the Snapshot they are about to see paleontologists document a fossil find from a coastal river environment that existed 60 million years ago.
Have students read the synopsis and view the Snapshot. Use the following questions to guide a class discussion.
- Why do you think Paleontologists chose the coalmine as a site to look for fossils?
- What was so unusual about this snake?
- Paleontologists reasoned that the climate at the time the snake lived must have been warmer. How did they come to that conclusion?
Use the following question to wrap-up your discussion.
- Do you think a warmer climate in the future would result in bigger reptiles? Why or why not?
Direct students who want to learn more about this topic to these websites: