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The collection of lessons below supports the educational use of Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure through standards-based (PDF) learning. Developed and reviewed with input from scientists, teachers, and museum educators, they are designed to engage students in an array of scientific and geographic concepts (PDF) through inquiry-based activities.

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Lessons (by grade level):
Grades 3-5   |   Grades 6-8   |   Grades 9-12  |   Full Guide (PDF)   |  Extras
Grades 3-5
Photo: Paleontologist Mike Everhart with a reconstructed skull of a mosasaur
Photo by Pamela Everhart
Fossils Rock! Tales from the Field
Why and how do paleontologists study fossils? Find out what it is like to work as a paleontologist.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Meet a Paleontologist
  • Join a Dig
  • "Fossils Rock!" Radio Program
Listen to paleontologist Mike Everhart (pictured at left) describe the day he found a Cretoxyrhina.
You need the Flash Player version 8 or higher and a JavaScript enabled browser to listen and view the audio player on this site
Image: Prostega
Create a Creature: Animal Adaptations
What body parts and behaviors help animals adapt to their environment? What can scientific names tell us about animal adaptations? Learn how adaptations—changes to body parts and behaviors—help animals survive.
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Lesson Activities:
  • What�s in a Name?
  • How Do Animals Adapt?
  • Design-a-Saurus
Image: Dolichorhynchops
At Home Under the Cretaceous Seas
Did prehistoric animals have the same habitat needs as modern animals? Discover how habitats meet the basic needs of animals in several ways.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Habitat Needs
  • What Swam in the Cretaceous Seas?
  • Cretaceous Seas Bingo
Grades 6-8
Image: drawing of young boy with a full-body Tylosaurus fossil
Science on Screen: Evidence and Inference
How do filmmakers use evidence and inference to make a science-based film about prehistoric marine reptiles? Learn how scientific research informs the development of a science-based film.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Unpack the Evidence
  • Behind the Scene: Science Notes
  • Storyboard a Scene
Image: annotated drawing of a Tylosaurus fossil head
CSI: Cretaceous Seas Investigation
How do scientists analyze fossil evidence to reconstruct life in prehistoric times? Learn how paleontologists study fossils to gain insights into animals and their interactions.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Cretaceous Clues
  • "Impossible Fossil" Site Map
  • Create a Site Map
Image: Ammonite
On Exhibit: World Under Water
What would you include in an exhibit about the Cretaceous seas? Explore the geography and marine life of the Cretaceous period.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Mapping the Cretaceous
  • Cretaceous Creature Research
  • Create the Exhibit: World Under Water
Grades 9-12
Image: drawing of a Styxosaurus
Science Forum: Extinction Then and Now
What factors contribute to the extinction of a species? Have these factors changed over time? Compare and contrast causes for extinction, past and present.
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Lesson Activities:
  • Eco-Illustrations
  • Extinction Then and Now
  • Science Forum
Sea Monsters Extras
Image: Sea Monsters education poster
Sea Monsters: A Prehistoric Adventure Poster
A giant Tylosaurus attacks a Cretoxyrhina as a Dolychorynchops swims away. Millions of years later, paleontologists working far from ocean waters discover the fossil of the Tylosaurus.
Image: glossary words
This two-page glossary defines scientific and geographical terms used in the lessons.
More Sea Monsters


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This material is based in part upon work supported by the National Science Foundation under Grant No. ESI-0514981. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation.