The La Brea Tar Pits are the world’s most famous Ice Age fossil excavation site. One amazing thing about this site it that it lies in the very center of Los Angeles, the second largest city in the United States. For thousands of years these swamps of asphalt have been fed by springs of oil that were covered with water during the last Ice Age. Coming to drink in the area, animals of all types went to the pools, where any misstep or slip caught them in sticky asphalt. Their struggles and cries attracted predators and scavengers which, in turn, became trapped in the asphalt in a self-perpetuating pattern. The thousands of fossils retrieved from the La Brea Tar Pits provide much of the knowledge we have about Ice Age wildlife.
This informational article for Grades 5-8 explores the La Brea tar pits, focusing on the process by which animals became trapped and the types of fossilized animals found. It can be implemented in a number of ways by teachers (close reading, direct instruction in class, independent practice, absence work, homework, test prep, assessment, centers, etc). Please see the Preview for part of the text and all the assessment questions.
The resource includes:
1) An engaging and informative 950-word article called “Sticking Around: The La Brea Tar Pits”
2) A total of 29 questions, from basic comprehension to creative and critical thinking, written to align with Common Core Standards RI.4.7, RI.5.2, RI.5.3, RI.5.4, and RH.6-8.8
3) Answers to every question.
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Any claims of correlation or alignment to the Common Core State Standards are solely those of Mark Aaron and have not been evaluated or endorsed by the NGA. Mark Aaron is the sole creator of this product and does not claim endorsement or association with the creators of the CCSS.