In this online interactive, learners use fossils to infer temperatures 55 million years ago, at the sites where the fossils were found. Using their observation skills, learners examine fossils of tree leaves and sort them into "smooth" and "toothed" leaves. Learners follow the process founded by Smithsonian paleontologist Scott Wing (featured in a video) to determine the temperature at the site where the fossils were found. Learners are challenged to: distinguish between smooth and toothed leaves using a scientific method called "leaf-margin analysis"; calculate the smooth-leaf percentage; calculate average annual temperature at two fossil sites; compare calculations between sites; and consider how prehistoric climate change matters today.


  • Mathematics > General
  • Education > General

Education Levels:

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