Creating Paleontology Detectives in your Classroom with 3D Models of Fossils

Friday 2:30pm-2:50pm E Building 202
Teaching Demonstration Part of Friday


Andy Connolly, University of Kansas Main Campus
Hannah Horinek, University of Kansas Main Campus


Fossil models will be demonstrated at the Rendezvous along with effective techniques to create paleontology detectives in your classroom.


By using 3D models of fossils, you can excite students to learn about our natural world without worrying about financial cost or space.
In this activity, students will deduce the identity of a 3D model mystery fossil. By observing the 3D model and reading provided supplements, students will answer open ended questions like its identity, how it lived, and its closest relatives.
This demonstration will show proper techniques in engaging students and providing them the right questions and materials to learn about our past on their own accord!


Based on standards across the country, 4th graders learn about the prehistoric past and understand how scientists reconstruct it using fossils and rock formations. The supplements compliment 4th grader vocabulary and encourage cooperation with their peers.

Why It Works

Instead of a scientist telling students facts, students put themselves into the shoes of a paleontologist and reconstruct the past using investigative skills. This also alleviates material and financial concerns of actually having fossils and instead allow students to view and observe the model with their own computers.
3D models of fossils can be used to answer the big questions of paleontology. What is it? Who are its relatives? What was its lifestyle? What was its habitat? And so forth.