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First Grade Information for the Museum of the Earth

First grade classes have a field experience at the Museum of the Earth focused on “Discovering Earth’s Mysteries.”  Prior to the field trips, a scientist from the Museum of the Earth visits the students' classrooms to help orient them to what they might see and think about during their visit. At the museum, small groups of students rotate through several hands-on activity stations as well as attending a classroom learning session for the entire group. 



Pre/Post Trip Activities/Lessons

Introduction to Science:

  • Draw a Scientist This is a wonderful way to introduce first graders to science practices! Quick, easy and meaningful, it will inform your entire year of classroom science!! (Written by ICSD teachers)

  • All About Science Flip Book This engaging activity introduces students to scientific skills such as observation, asking questions and perseverance. They may even ask, “We get to make THAT?!?”


Other Information and Ideas

Sedimentary Rocks:

  • Sedimentary Rock Jars Sedimentary rocks are composed of different layers. Students will create their own sedimentary layers, describing the characteristics of each throughout the process.

  • Sedimentary Rice Krispie Treats Edible rocks! The cereal represents the sediment, the marshmallows are the glue and the melted butter is the water. Just apply pressure to squeeze the grains together.


  • Chocolate Chip Excavation Student scientists excavate chocolate chips from a cookie matrix, using great care not to damage the specimen.

  • Fossil Sequence Activity Students work to put Fossil Sequence Cards (included) in the appropriate order. Written by Lynn Vanderwort.

  • Classroom Dig Pit Students utilize paleontological tools and tricks as they search for objects in sand. Written by Lynn Vanderwort.

  • Digging Up Fossils Flip Book This hands-on project reinforces concepts presented in the book including the process of fossilization, paleontological tools and understanding paleo-environments. Your students will dig this activity.

  • Glue Fossils Making fossils doesn't have to take millions of years. Using classroom materials, guide your students through the process of cast and mold fossilization.


Dinosaurs: (While the trip is not focused on dinosaurs these are amazing hands on activities!)

  • Dinosaur Egg Hunt Students excavate eggs with dinosaur pieces inside and then work cooperatively to reconstruct their dinosaurs. Opportunity to conduct further research on their dinosaur! Based on a lesson from Jody Wadach, written by Alison Pritz and Randi Beckmann.

  • What is a Dinosaur Contrary to popular belief, dinosaurs are land reptiles, they do not swim or fly. This lesson includes a printable activity and an assessment.

  • Name a Dinosaur Students develop a new dinosaur name by combining Latin root words. Printable handouts included. Written be Lynn Vanderwort.

  • How Long was a Dinosaur? Students use yarn to measure lengths of select dinosaur species. Printable dinosaur length sheet included. Written by Lynn Vanderwort.

  • Sticky Animals This activity simulates what happened to many dinosaurs when they got stuck in the mud at the bottom of lakes and rivers. Written by Lynn Vanderwort.

  • Dinosaur Bone Puzzle Students assembled the fossilized bones of a Coelophysis, New York State’s Dinosaur. Written by Lynn Vanderwort

Post Trip Idea from the Museum



KDT! Book for First Grade

KDT! provides books to all Pre-K through fifth grade children to encourage literacy and reinforce Kids Discover the Trail! curriculum. To prolong the excitement of the trip, some teachers give the book to the children (when appropriate) on a day other than the day of the field trip.

Some helpful hints...

  • Read the book aloud to the children in class before sending the book home.

  • Have the children write their names in the book

  • Use the lesson plans that are posted below

  • Be sure to inform families about the book in your weekly newsletters. Please alert them to the parent flier that gives ideas about how to use the book at home!

The books for 1st grade is “Fossils Tell of Long Ago” by Aliki. Click the title to find lesson plans written by Kate McGee! 

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