Virtual Field Trips

Horse Evolution

< Virtual Field Trips

Reserve your virtual field trip today!


Grades 10-12
For specific class information contact Annie Mumgaard

Program Duration

Two 45 minute long sessions (class lab & virtual field trip)
Kit included


In Nebraska (Schools, Libraries, Educational non-profit): $100
Outside of Nebraska: $125
CILC Member: $125
CILC Premier Member: $100

Virtual Field Trip Details

Through group investigation and data interpretation, students will unlock the mystery of horse evolution. Using data collected from an in-class lab activity, they will join a museum educator to construct an explanation for how horses evolved on the Great Plains of North America. By analyzing multiple lines of empirical evidence your students will literally unlock a breakout box that will help them further discover and explore the non-linear evolutionary path of horses. This two-part program includes an in-classroom lab activity and a Virtual Field Trip.

Program Learning Objectives
Students will:
· Use the evidence gathered from fossil pollen, fossil teeth and fossil horse feet to explain how natural selection leads to adaptations in horse populations.
· Use scientific tools and multiple lines of evidence to explain concepts.
· Recognize that evolution is not a linear process.
· Be introduced to vertebrate paleontologists and the Museum collections.
· Use devices to record data, develop an explanation, and reinforce scientific concepts.

Required: In-Class Lab (held prior to VFT)
Using the provided program kit, in your classroom students are divided into five groups, with each group investigating a different dig site. Each dig site is responsible for gathering data from:
· a fossil bone puzzle,
· fossil pollen,
· and fossil horse teeth.
· Students report their findings into a Google Doc so that each team’s data is compiled in one place.

Lab Learning Goals:
Students will:
· Gather data using scientific tools.
· Communicate and collaborate with a team, as scientists do.
· Use acquired data to make predictions.

Virtual Field Trip Format
· Students use their Chrome books/devices to reference the class Google Doc and Kahoot! Jumble learning game.
· A Museum educator leads students through opening six locks on a breakout box over the course of the program.
· Each lock is opened using evidence collected during the in-class lab.
· The final lock is opened with a key found within the broad understanding of evolution.
· Inside the breakout box, students discover Ashfall Fossil Beds and the five horse genera that were found in the ash, living at the same place and time 12 million years ago. This final piece of evidence supports the explanation of evolution as a branching tree of life, with multiple genera co-existing, rather than a linear progression through time.

VFT/Breakout Box Learning Goals
· Provide a creative way to apply codes gathered from completing lab activities by unlocking locks.
· Apply concepts discovered during in-class lab activities and Virtual Field Trip.
· Reinforce that evolution is not linear, but more of a shrub.
· Introduce Ashfall Fossil Beds and the story it tells.

Contents include 1 mystery lock box and materials for 5 dig site groups, including:  horse feet puzzle, fossil “pollen”, sieve, and tweezers, 3-D horse teeth, calipers, habitat cards, pop-up tree.

Return mail costs averages $10-$15

“[This Virtual Field Trip] was a great way to incorporate real-world data into our unit. It was also a great way for the kids to see how evolutionary timelines are constructed with real-world evidence.”

 “I have already replaced examples with this horse example to make concepts easier to understand. Throughout this unit I anticipate I will say, “remember what we did with the horse activity,” all the time!”

 “My students struggled to figure out the locks on the box but it was good critical thinking skills for them.”