Curriculum provided by the Tate Geological Museum

The following lessons were designed to fit the Natrona County School District # 1 essential curriculum standards as of May 2012. Natrona County is located in central Wyoming. Lessons were created with the Tate Geological Museum’s exhibits in mind so that teachers and visitors could work outside of the museum to enhance learning and follow-up with museum visits. The Tate Geological Museum is located in Casper, Wyoming. Illustrations by Russell J. Hawley, Tate Geological Museum Educator.

Explanation of State Standard Codes: (ST) 8.1.2.C
(ST) Letters in parenthesis stand for the Level of Cognitive Demand – Key: (R) = Recall (A) = Application (ST) = Strategic Thinking (ET) = Extended Thinking
8–The first number indicates the grade level. Kindergarten is indicated with a K.
1–The second number indicates the Content Standard
2–The third number indicates the Benchmark under the Content Standard
C–The fourth letter or number indicates the Sub Benchmark under the Benchmark, which is under the Content Standard.
These standards are posted in greater detail on the NCSD #1 website



Dinosaur Week Unit

Includes ideas for math, literacy, science, music, art and fun recipes!


Lesson: Dinosaur Eggs

Includes an activity to sort dinosaur eggs and learn about two types of dinosaurs: oviraptor & maiasaura. Discussion includes dinosaur parenting.

Lesson: Sorting Rocks

This lesson introduces students to sorting and classifying rocks through a hand-on activity.

Second Grade

Lesson Plan: What do scientists do?

Conduct an experiment like a scientist: Sink or Float

Third Grade

Lesson: Why was the Struthiomimus sedens, the ostrich-mimic dinosaur, so fast?

This lesson teaches how anatomy affects mobility. It includes an activity that helps students compute their leg ratio and compare it to ostrich and the Struthiomimus measurements to help determine speed.


Fourth Grade

Lesson: The Road to Fossilization

Understanding the NPS Fossilization Poster and Stratigraphic Range

Lesson: The Rock Cycle

Learn about igneous, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks and how they change through this fun experiment

Lesson: Rock Exploration 101

Kids will learn about the scientific process through rock exploration

Lesson: Create a Dinosaur Illustration and Poem

Study Dinosaur Habitat included Internet resources

Lesson: Watching the Video Dee the Mammoth

Includes discussion questions and classroom worksheet with answers for instructor

Lesson: Dichotomous Mineral Keys

Students will use a dichotomous key to identify minerals

Lesson: Understanding Geologic Time

Students will create a geologic timeline, mnemonic and draw corresponding life on their timeline.

Lesson: Understanding Geologic Features – Big Taffy Mountain by Dana Van Burgh

Using candy, students will gain an understanding of how rock layers were bent.

Fifth Grade

Lesson: Drawing Dee & Researching Mammoth Habitat


2 Lesson Plans that work together:

Lesson: Comparing and contrasting elephants and mammoths

Identifying skeleton bones of Dee, discussion of mammoth and elephant ancestry

Sixth Grade

Lesson: Fibonacci Through Time

Students will apply the Fibonacci principle in identifying prehistoric animal and plants

Lesson: Women in Paleontology

A good lesson for March, as it is Women’s History Month. Students will learn about paleontology and the important contributions women have made to the science.


Seventh Grade

Lesson: Convection in the Mantle

Students will explore plate tectonics with this lesson

Lesson: Self-Guided Tour of the Tate Geological Museum

This lesson includes a worksheet students to find answers at the Tate Museum, with attached answers for the instructor. In addition, this lesson includes post visit discussion questions for the classroom.

Lesson: Earthquake Measurement

The Richter Scale using the Khan Academy Video

Lesson: Understanding the Theory of Pangaea

This lesson includes background information regarding the theory of Pangaea and uses an activity that helps students understand the concept. Web links to additional information included.

  • Lesson Plan: Pangaea (Word doc) – not currently available
  • Activity: Plate Tectonics Crossword (Word doc)
  • Illustrations of Animals in lesson (PDF) – not currently available
  • Pangaea Reunited Worksheet (PDF) – not currently available
  • Plate Tectonics Vocabulary list with definitions (Word doc) – not currently available
  • World Continents Map for Lesson (PDF) – not currently available
Eighth Grade

Lesson Plan: Comparing and Contrasting Knightia and Cutthroat Trout

This lesson helps student learn fish anatomy and learn about Wyoming’s state fish. Included are weblinks and a fish anatomy worksheet.

Lesson Plan: Dinosaur Names – Root Origins

This lesson demonstrates how dinosaurs were named by exploring the Greek & Latin root words.

Ninth through Twelfth Grade

No lesson available

Fun and Games

Dinosaur Jeopardy Game

  • Easily accessed online and can be played as a class, projected on your Smartboard.

Dee-the-Mammoth Jeopardy Game

  • Easily accessed online and can be played as a class, projected on your Smartboard.

Learn how to Draw Dee the Mammoth – available upon request

Triceratops Craft

Make a fun and easy model of a triceratops with the template and instructions – available upon request

Invertebrate Fun page (PDF) – available upon request

Make a Dinosaur Food Web (PDF) – available upon request

Tools a paleontologist needs (Word doc)