Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History

Fossilization - How Fossils Form

Introduction

National Middle School Science Standards

Life ScienceEarth Science

Key Terms

fossil, fossilization, preservation, taphonomy, paleontology 

Key Concepts

  • Defining fossilization
  • Conditions causing fossilization
  • Frequency of fossilization
  • Hard vs. soft tissue preservation
  • Technology used by taphonomists

Resource Types

Middle School Level

High School Level

Gifted Reading Level

Paleontology Subject Guide Smithsonian Libraries

Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS)

The Fossils and Fossilization teaching resources support students in meeting the following middle school NGSS Performance Expectations:

Life Science

MS-LS4 Biological Evolution: Unity and Diversity

  • MS-LS4-1: Analyze and interpret data for patterns in the fossil record that document the existence, diversity, extinction, and change of life forms throughout the history of life on Earth under the assumption that natural laws operate today as in the past.

  • MS-LS4-2: Apply scientific ideas to construct an explanation for the anatomical similarities and differences among modern organisms and between modern and fossil organisms to infer evolutionary relationships.

Earth Science

MS-ESS1 Earth's Place in the Universe

  • MS-ESS1-4: Construct a scientific explanation based on evidence from rock strata for how the geologic time scale is used to organize Earth's 4.6-billion-year-old history.

MS-ESS2 Earth's Systems

  • MS-ESS2-2: Construct an explanation based on evidence for how geoscience processes have changed Earth's surface at varying time and spatial scales.

Resource Type
Subject Guides
Grade Level
6-8
Learning Standards
Next Generation Science Standards
Topics
Earth Science, Life Science, Paleontology