The Fossil Finders Investigation is a unique opportunity for students to assist paleontologists in answering the scientific research question: "Do the organisms in the shallow Devonian sea stay the same during environmental changes?"
Students involved in the project will identify and measure fossils in rock samples, enter their data into an online database, and compare their data with the data of other schools. Processing this data will provide students an opportunity to engage in authentic research. Further, students will help scientists at the Paleontological Research Institution reconstruct the geologic past of central New York. Education researchers from Cornell Department of Education and scientists from the research institution will provide teachers and students with resources and online support for fossil identification.
The Fossil Finders project staff and scientists will help in answering questions via the project website and fielding digital photographs of samples difficult to identify. This collaborative effort will involve students in learning about how science is done in the process of learning science content-matter.
Learning about geological concepts, environmental change, and nature of science will occur concurrently with students’ involvement in the Fossil Finders scientific investigation. The Fossil Finders curriculum also encourages classroom field trips to outcrop sites or local natural history museums to supplement the curriculum; however, virtual visits will be made possible through the project website.