Elephants in Your Backyard: Making Teeth Talk

by  Explore Natural History: University of Nebraska State Museum

Program image

Using the tools of a paleontologist during a classroom fossil dig, students will uncover and identify small and medium fossils, make predictions and find several large mystery fossils. Ah ha – on to the museum! Here, working together, we’ll uncover the fossils identity (they’re teeth – shhh!), share our discoveries and predictions, check out the fossils found only at the museum, then put all the information together to find answers! Along the way we’ll come to understand the science of paleontology and how and what the fossils tell us about mid-America’s ancient climate and habitats that were known to our very own elephants - Gomphotheres, Stegomastodons, Mastodons and Mammoths! It will be epic!

Program Rating

   based on 10 evaluation(s).
Book it!

About This Program


Point to Point: $150.00
Point to Point Premium: $140.00


40-45 minutes

Target Audience

Education: Grade(s) 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Minimum participants:

There is no minimum.

Maximum participants:

For optimum interactivity, we suggest no more than 25-30 students.

Primary Disciplines


Program Delivery Mode

Videoconference - H.323 (Polycom, Cisco/Tandberg, LifeSize, etc...)
Videoconference – Webcam/desktop (Zoom, Google Meet, Cisco WebEx, GoToMeeting, Microsoft Teams, Blue Jeans, etc...)
Microsoft Teams

Booking Information

Book it!

Receive this program and 9 more for one low price when you purchase the CILC Virtual Expeditions package. Learn more

For more information contact CILC at (507) 388-3672

Provider's Cancellation Policy

If you need to cancel or change a session date, please let us know ASAP.

Failure to cancel in advance will result in being charged the full price of the program.

There is no charge if your program is canceled due to weather or unforeseen technical problems.

If a virtual field trip needs to be rescheduled due to unforeseen technical or weather events, we will try to reschedule within the following two weeks at no extra charge.

About This Provider

Content Provider logo


Explore Natural History: University of Nebraska State Museum

Lincoln, NE
United States

Sparking people's interest in the natural world and preserving it for future generations. That is our philosophy at the University of Nebraska State Museum. Established in 1871, the University
of Nebraska State Museum is an active research museum. We are known for our paleontological
collections, especially our iconic hall of ancient elephants, yet we also
maintain over 13 million specimens, ethnographic and archeological
The museum is focused on promoting discovery in natural science, and
fostering scientific understanding and interpretation of the Earth’s
past, present and future through world-class exhibits, collections,
special events, and education. The Museum is a
proud Smithsonian Affiliate and is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.

Annie Mumgaard

Program Details


1. Classroom tabletop fossil dig conducted!
2. Enter UNSM’S Elephant Hall - the land of prehistoric pachyderms!
3. Introduce the science of paleontology and the definition and importance of a fossil
4. Students share their dig finds and predictions.
5. Students use dichotomous key process to “find” their mystery fossil within the museum
6. Students learn how paleontologists use teeth to unravel clues about found fossils.
7. Each dig box group discovers the museum displayed elephant owner of their mystery fossil and confirm (or not) their habitat and climate predictions. We will work with the….

a) MAMMOTH–the world’s largest mounted mammoth, “Archie”, a 30,000 year old Columbian Mammoth;
b) MASTODON – first arriving in the great plains area over 2 million years ago, we’ll look at our 20,000 year old specimen;
c) STEGOMASTODON – this is a 3 million year old Savanna living elephant;
d) GOMPHOTHERE –an 12.5 million year old Giant Long-Jawed Tusker.

8. Possible discussion about extinction.
9. Question and Answers all along the way!


The participants will:
- Be actively introduced to the science of Paleontology;
- Experience the process of collecting fossils;
- Practice the inquiry process skills of observation and questioning;
- Engage in discussion and develop an enriched understanding on how paleontology helps us to better understand our natural world.

Standards Alignment

National Standards

A full listing of National Science Standards, Next Generation Standards, and Common Core Standards can be found on our website listing:

State Standards

A full listing of Nebraska Science Standards can be found on our website: