Lesson Plan: How Big Was Megalodon?

♦ SUMMARY: How Big Was Megalodon? – A lesson by PaleoTEACH, Victor Perez (@vperez) and Megan Hendrickson (@mhendrickson)

♦ AUDIENCE: 6-8, Middle School, Sixth (6th) Grade, Seventh (7th) Grade, Eighth (8th) Grade

♦ TOPICS/THEMES: Measurements, Teeth, Paleontology, Fossils, Sharks, Ecology, Scientific Method, Scientific Evidence, STEM, Mathematics, Geometry

♦ INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the link below to access the lesson. Please contact the author with any questions.

How Big Was Megalodon?

FOSSIL theme session at Northeast / North-Central GSA in Pittsburgh

The FOSSIL Project hosted a successful theme session on March 19 at the 2017 Northeast / North-Central joint Geological Society of America regional meeting in Pittsburgh, PA.

We had a full day session featuring 16 talks and 3 poster presentations (10 of which were talks by amateur/avocational paleontologists!).  To read respective abstracts, click through each title on the webpages below:

Several talks throughout the day, including Lee Cone’s on the relationships between amateur, professional, and commercial paleontologists, drew large crowds.  New friendships and partnerships were established thanks to this meeting, and we look forward to further collaboration with groups such as the Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute and the Minnesota-based Hill Annex Paleontology Project.

Prior to the meeting, the Delaware Valley Paleontological Society and FossilGuy (Jayson Kowinsky) led the group on a great field trip.  In the morning, we got a behind-the-scenes tour of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History with curator Dr. Matt Lamanna.  Dr. Lamanna gave us a detailed look at the vertebrate prep lab, explained the fascinating historical significance of ‘Dippy’ the Diplodocus, and showed us the extensive vertebrate collections rooms (aptly called the “Big Bone Room” for dinosaur material and the “Little Bone Room” for mammal material).  In the afternoon, we traveled to a road cut near Ambridge, PA, where there is an outcrop of the Pennsylvanian aged Glenshaw Formation.  Despite the muddy conditions and occasional rain or sleet, we collected many carbonized plant specimens, such as Calamites stems and Pecopteris fern leaves.  A great time was had by all!

If you have photos you’d like to add to gallery (see below) contact webmaster Eleanor Gardner.


Lesson Plan: Changing Climates and Evolutionary Responses Preserved in the Fossil Record

♦ SUMMARY: Changing Climates and Evolutionary Responses Preserved in the Fossil Record – A lesson plan by Geoscientist-in-the-Park Gina Roberti (@groberti)

♦ AUDIENCE: 9-12, High School, Ninth (9th) Grade, Tenth (10th) Grade, Eleventh (11th) Grade, Twelfth (12th) Grade

♦ TOPICS/THEMES: Scientific Method, Paleontology, Fossils, Cenozoic, NPS, Geology, Evolution, Climate, Paleoclimate, Paleoenvironment, Environment, Horses, Biology, Ecology, Mammals

♦ INSTRUCTIONS: Click on the link below to access the lesson. Please contact the author with any questions.

gina graph


Resource: Paleontological Society Outreach & Education Grants

The Paleontological Society Outreach and Education Grant provides support to members for programs and activities involving educational outreach and community engagement. Potential fundable projects include, but are not limited to, field trips to fossil sites and/or museums for teachers and pre-college students, educator training and curriculum development, participation in local community initiatives, development of educational materials for classroom use, and website or other online material development.

The subject matter covered by outreach proposals may fall within any sub-discipline of paleontology/paleobiology. Particularly encouraged are projects that (1) include opportunities for undergraduate students to become involved in paleontological outreach to younger students or the public, (2) create new educational “apps” or other technologies, and/or (3) produce educational materials that could be distributed more widely through the PS website.

Prior recipients of a PS Outreach and Education Grant must wait one year before being eligible to submit another application (e.g., a 2016 grant recipient must wait until 2018 to submit another proposal). Prior recipients must also submit their required final report on the funded project before being eligible to apply for a second award.

Amount of Grant:

The Paleontological Society will issue grants of up to $2,500 each; the number of awards to be made is flexible.


Typically the third week in March each year

Who May Apply?
Applicants must be members of the Paleontological Society at the time of application. Graduate student applicants should provide documentation of a professional member’s willingness to serve as advisor for the project.

How to Apply:
Applications for a PS Outreach and Education Grant must include –

A project proposal, three to five pages in length, which must include:
-a project title
-names and contact addresses of participating personnel
-the proposer’s Paleontological Society Member Number
-a brief synopsis of the project
-target audience (e.g., grade level, in-service teachers, the public)
-project description
-goals of the project
-expected outcomes (including how they will be assessed)
-a discussion of the significance to the science education community

-a detailed, itemized budget with justification of the uses of the PS Education & Outreach funds (We cannot pay overhead or indirect costs. Matching funds from other sources are strongly encouraged.)

-a one page CV for each of the project personnel.

All applications must be submitted electronically by completing and submitting the form at http://paleosoc.org/grants-and-awards/paleontological-society-outreach-and-education-grant/. The cover sheet, research proposal, and CV must be sent in one PDF file as a form attachment.

An email message of confirmation will be sent to all applicants. Your email address, institutional affiliation, address, and telephone number are required, as are names and addresses of two professional paleontologists who are writing letters of support.

PS Education and Outreach Coordinator:

Dr. Rowan Lockwood
Professor of Geology
The College of William and Mary
[email protected]

Review Process:

Grantees will be selected by a subcommittee of the Paleontological Society’s Education & Outreach Committee. Evaluation criteria include the goals, significance, feasibility, creativity, and likely impact of the project, and the soundness of the budget. Recipients will be notified in mid May each year.

Grant Award Procedures:

Grant awards can be made directly to individuals or to institutions. Please be advised that if a grantee opts to receive the funds directly, the Paleontological Society is required to issue an IRS 1099 form at the end of the calendar year. The grant funds may or may not be taxable; grantees must make that determination themselves. The Society cannot offer tax advice. Grantees are required to submit a follow-up project report by the following March detailing the project’s outcomes. Details on the reporting requirements will be sent to all grantees.

2016 Proposed Regulations Affecting BLM-Managed Lands Under the Paleontological Resources Preservation Act

Click here to access the PDF: paleo-proposed-rule-81-fr-88173-12-07-16

Remember that you may post public comments regarding the proposed rule through February 6, 2017. Just follow the steps outlined in our step-by-step video.


‘Facilitating Effective STEM Learning and Public Engagement in Paleontology,’ Short Course @ GSA 2016


On September 23, 2016, in Denver, CO, the FOSSIL team offered a 4-hour short course for attendees of the annual national meeting of the Geological Society of America.  We were pleased to have 15 participants in our course, ranging from amateur paleontologists to PhD students to tenured professors.  The course was fast-paced and accidentally had no bathroom breaks (!), but all of the participants appeared to have had a good time and learned something new.  The FOSSIL team presented a hands-on program covering four “case studies” on (1) the value of metadata, (2) digitization, (3) citizen science (and utilizing social media), and (4) NGSS-aligned paleontology themed lesson plans.

  1. PDF copy of the short course presentation slides
  2. Fossil identification guide for the Aurora, NC, matrix
  3. Chewing on Change’ curriculum on fossil horse teeth
  4. See photos from the short course
  5. Contact GSA programs coordinator Jennifer Nocerino for information about the CEUs you earned by attending this short course



Webinar Presentations (Slide Shows)

Please feel free to look at these presentations, but if you wish to use any of the information contained in them, be sure to get permission first!

Fall 2016 Webinar Series – Fundamentals of Fossils

Jayson Kowinsky’s August 31st Webinar: jaysonkowinsky-webinar-ppt

Bruce MacFadden’s September 29th Webinar: field-notes-101-final

Dava Butler’s October 19th Webinar: excavating-fossils-presentation-dava

Rachel Narducci’s November 30th Webinar: fossil-prep_final


Spring 2017 Webinar Series – Women in Paleontology

Tara Lepore’s January 25th Webinar: WiP-taralepore

Brenda Hunda’s February 22nd Webinar: WiP Webinar_BrendaHunda

Cindy Lockner’s March 29th Webinar: WiP Webinar-Cindy

Lisa White’s April 26th Webinar: WiP Webinar_Lisa White

June 2016 K-12 professional development fossil dig

In late June 2016, over twenty K-12 teachers from around the U.S. participated in a workshop and fossil dig near Gainesville, FL.  Although the program was officially hosted by PCP-PIRE/GABI-RET, four teachers who attended are also amateur paleontologists: @tmorgan Tynessa Morgan of Texas (Dallas Paleontological Society), @acurrier Aaron Currier of Oregon (North America Research Group), @mbrowne Margaret Browne of Colorado (Western Interior Paleontological Society), and Charles O’Connor of Florida (Fossil Club of Lee County).

A station in Santa Cruz, CA, created a news piece about the workshop; to view the news spot, click the ‘hotlinked’ image below:


Photo gallery:

Photos from the Cincinnati Mini Conference