Explorify at home: Fossils and evolution
This collection of activities about fossils and evolution is ideal to do at home with your little explorers. Enjoy a good afternoon of science each week!
Explorify at home is a special series of science activities for parents and carers of primary school children who are now learning at home. We define activities by age and curriculum topics in Explorify, but these collections are also suitable to do all together as a family of mixed aged children. Or if your little scientist just wants to explore further, pick something from the other age sections for inspiration! Teachers can find out about our full (free!) classroom resource at the bottom of this page.
Parents, read on!
This collection is all about fossils and evolution. Our living world gives us clues about the past but it is dynamic, adapting to change.
For children aged 5-7
Click the image for the Zoom In Zoom Out activity
First, take a close-up look: Children are fascinated by living things but sometimes struggle to distinguish between what is living and what is not. Look at the first picture in this Zoom In Zoom Out activity, Rugged ridges, for clues and wonder what it might be; any idea is fine if children can say why as there isn’t always just one right answer in science. Use the magnifying glass icon to zoom out and reveal more clues; talk about what you see in the final picture.
Hands-on activity: Sea shells are the remains of shellfish - the soft body of the animal has decayed (or been eaten by a predator) but gives us clues as to what is living in the sea and on the sea shore. You might also spot different snail shells out and about. If you’re able to go shell spotting that would be lovely but if not, why not make some prints of leaves or other material to explore the patterns on them.
Watch more on dinosaur footprints on: BBC Bitesize Daily
First, take a close-up look: Rocks and soils tell us a lot about the life that lived on earth millions of years ago. Here’s another Zoom In Zoom Out, Mysterious material, for you to explore. As before, remember to click on the hand lens icon to zoom out and reveal more of the image, encouraging lots of wonder about what it could be and valuing any ideas.
Hands-on activity: Fossils are often found in lots of different rocks around the UK and give us clues to living creatures from the past. Make some of your own fossil replicas using home made play dough – find out how to make it on the BBC Good Food website.
Watch more on fossils on: BBC Bitesize Daily
Evolution takes place over millennia. We can see how living things are adapted to their environments which shows how evolution has taken place over a very long time. For example, our hands allow us to do some intricate things but our evolutionary ancestors would not have had such good fine motor skills.
Hands-on activity: To investigate this, try some challenges but do not allow the use of your thumbs:
- Tie your shoelaces
- Cut with scissors
- Brush your hair
- Draw or write.
If you are able to, look at the beaks of different garden birds. Their beaks are shaped to enable them to get their preferred food. What shape beaks do seed eaters have compared to those that eat worms?
Watch more on evolution on: BBC Bitesize Daily
That's all for this week!
We hope your little scientists have enjoyed exploring materials this week. We'd love to know how you got on. You can follow us on Twitter or Facebook or email us if you have any feedback on this collection.
Please note that children should be supervised with any practical activity and should wash their hands when handling materials.
Take it further:
- Visit STEM Learning, to explore their support for parents and carers with home learning.
- Watch the BBC Bitesize Daily: You can use these activities along with watching the BBC Bitesize Daily programme on Fossils and evolution, which will be available one week soon. We'll give you the link to watch the 20-minute programmes, with the activities for your child's age, when they are published. Versions for Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland can be found on the iPlayer.- Browse our other collections – there's are more added each week!
Are you a primary school teacher who has yet to sign up to Explorify?
If you are a teacher who hasn't discovered Explorify before, you can sign up and explore the whole website with over 400 free activities. (It's free, as it's funded by charitable foundation Wellcome Trust. Our mission is to help you enhance your science teaching and get your pupils thinking like scientists!) We provide background science, to help you field questions from your pupils and ideas to take our curriculum-linked activities further. Something to get your teeth into for when you're back in the classroom!
'Rugged ridges': InspiredImages via Pixabay;
'Mysterious material': Chalk Cliff by pipapicture via 123rf.com; Natakim via Shutterstock; pxhere CC0; pxhere CC0;
Ammonite fossils: laurentarroues via Pixabay