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Monday Morning Ready01.17.2020
Jumpstart Your Week!

When the Smithsonian's Hall of Fossils-Deep Time exhibition opened last June, hundreds of species sprung to simulated life. The fossil specimens cover a lot of paleontological ground, spanning 3.7 billion years of our planet's history and representing a wide variety of organisms. Among them are some of the fearsome creatures to ever walk the Earth...... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

Which of the dinosaurs in the article would you most like to see in person? Why?

Grade 5-6

The article mentions that the dinosaur displays have been updated using current research. Do you think this is important? Why or why not?

Grade 7-8

According to the article, the T. rex skeleton is the "bold centerpiece" for the new Fossil Hall. Do you think it is the best choice to be featured? If so, why? If not, what do you think should be featured there instead?

Grade 9-10

In addition to displaying skeletons, what do you think would be the best ways to teach visitors about dinosaurs and other ancient specimens at the National Museum of Natural History's new fossil hall? What features would you include to target different types of visitors including parents, children, and tourists from different countries?

LESSON PLAN
Promote the NMNH's New Fossil Hall Exhibition

PROCESS:

  1. Invite students to explore the National Museum of Natural History's new David H. Koch Hall of Fossils-Deep Time exhibition site. Make sure they watch the video so they learn what the exhibition includes and why it is different.
  2. Instruct students to select their favorite aspect of the new exhibit and write a brief summary describing what it is and why it appeals to them.
  3. Then have students discuss the type of person who would be most likely to travel to the museum to see this exhibit in person. Encourage them to brainstorm ideas about how they could reach that target audience and influence their travel plans.
  4. Give students time to create a television or social media advertisement that would entice people to visit the NMNH's new fossil hall exhibition this coming summer. Encourage them to incorporate their own favorite part of the exhibit into their promotional campaigns.

ASSESSMENT:

Invite students to present their advertisements to the class. Encourage classmates to identify key elements in each ad that hooked their interest and made them want to visit the new exhibition.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:

Grades 3-4:
Explore the NMNH site as a class. Then divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to identify one aspect of the exhibit that all group members like and write a script for a 30-second television advertisement that will encourage visitors to come see the exhibit this coming summer. Invite all groups to present their ads. Compare and contrast the results.
Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to identify one aspect of the exhibit that all group members like. Then give them time to write and act out two different 30-second television advertisements that will encourage visitors to come see the exhibit this coming summer. Invite them to present their ads to the class. Have classmates compare the advertisements and discuss how each captured their interest in a different way.
Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into small groups. Encourage each group to identify one aspect of the exhibit that all group members like. Then give them time to create a social media campaign focused on that part of the exhibit. Invite groups to present their ads to the class. Have classmates summarize what the campaign reveals about the exhibit and discuss whether or not it piqued their interest enough for them to want to visit the exhibit in person this coming summer.
Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Encourage partners to identify their favorite part of the exhibit. Challenge them to create a 30-second television advertisement as well as a complimentary social media campaign focused on this part of the exhibit. Invite them to present their work to the class. Have classmates analyze each presentation to see how the two approaches work together to reach the target audience in multiple ways.
SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Here Are 12 Things You Might Miss in the Smithsonian’s New Fossil Hall
Hidden among the dinosaurs and megafauna, are these small details that make “Deep Time” all the more impressive. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn more about the new Fossil Hall.

A New View of T. Rex
In 1988, amateur fossil hunter Kathy Wankel made an unusual and extremely valuable find while on a family camping trip in Montana. Review this Smithsonian site to learn more about her discovery—now the centerpiece of the National Museum of Natural History’s new Fossil Hall.

How Do You Dismantle a Dinosaur?
Before the National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C. could close its Dinosaur hall for a five-year renovation, the resident dinosaurs needed to be removed. Watch this Smithsonian Insider video to learn how a highly specialized crew dismantled a meat-eating dinosaur called Allosaurus piece by piece.

Dinosaur Designs
In this Cooper-Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum unit, elementary science, library, computer and art teachers can collaborate as students learn about Paleozoic times, conduct research to learn about specific dinosaurs and then capitalize on their computer skills to build a three-dimensional papier mâché model of a dinosaur.

Fossilization—How Fossils Form
Use this collection of Smithsonian videos, lessons, posters and more to teach middle school students key concepts related to fossils and how they form.

Mass Extinction—Solving the Dinosaur Mystery
What caused the large dinosaurs to go extinct? Join Kirk Johnson a paleobotanist and Saint Director of the National Museum of Natural History in this Smithsonian Science How webcast as he explores the extinction and recovery stories told by fossils found at the Hell creek Formation in North Dakota. Examine evidence for the causes, the consequences and the aftermath of the mass extinction for life on Earth.

How Do We Know What Dinosaurs and Other Extinct Animals Ate?
In this video from the National Museum of Natural History, scientist Dr. Nick Pyenson explains how paleontologists get information about what dinosaurs and other extinct animals ate. Comparing modern to fossil dentition, he shows what types and arrangements of teeth tell you about diet.

What Makes a Dinosaur a Dinosaur?
The question may sound like a “duh,” but it gets to the heart of how we categorize and define nature. Read this Smithsonian magazine article to learn why.
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