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Educator Resources

Class Discussion
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: