When a living thing dies, it usually decays (disappears). Many times though, dead organic life will be captured in a substance that preserves it. When this happens in a substance that can hold it for hundred and even thousands of years, we refer to it as a fossil. The word "fossil" even means "dug up". Studying fossils help us understand past life. Some fossils can also be just evidence of past life, like a preserved footprint or an egg. When we put a bunch of fossils together we can get a pretty good idea of what life was like in early times. The oldest fossil that we have uncovered is about 3.8 billion years old. The hard body parts (skeletal remains) are most likely to be well-preserved as a fossil. This means creatures that lack a spine are rarely found in this form. When we take into account the collective number of preserved living things that we find and carbon date them to determine how old they are, we can get a pretty good picture of what life was roughly like at each time period.
The worksheets spend a good deal of time on the fossil record over time periods and how fossils are used as a tool to understand evolution. These worksheets help students understand how to look back in time through the use of the fossil record. It helps them understand the evidence that exists to understand the possibility of the evolution of species. We encourage them to create their own questions and conclusions.