Skull Detectives

Subject: Skulls and Teeth

Duration: 30-40 minutes

5E: Explore and Explain

Group Size: Individual

NGSS Performance Expectation: K-2-ETS1-2 - Develop a simple sketch, drawing, or physical model to illustrate how the shape of an object helps it function as needed to solve a given problem.

Disciplinary Core Idea: ETS1.B: Developing Possible Solutions- Designs can be conveyed through sketches, drawings, or physical models

Science & Engineering Practices: Developing and Using Models

Cross-Cutting Concepts: Structure and Function

Common Core: W.2.8- recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question

Overview: In this activity students will use a powerpoint to guide them. Students will learn about the different types of teeth that animals have and how that helps us figure out what the animal eats. Students then will observe three different native animal skulls and make educated guesses about whether they are a carnivore, herbivore, or omnivore. Lastly they will draw one of the animals they learned about and label the different teeth this animal has using the terms molar, canine, and incisor.

Method: Students use a powerpoint to guide them through the lesson. Parents can help students who need assistance with reading.

Materials: Computer, pencil, and paper

Preparation: Gather pencil and paper and have powerpoint pulled up on computer


  1. Students will need paper, pencil, and a computer to view the powerpoint. They will use the powerpoint to guide them through the activity. They can do this independently.
  2. The activity follows these steps:
    1. Introduction to the theme of skull detectives
    2. Testing prior knowledge and learning the words carnivore, omnivore, herbivore, and their definitions.
    3. Learning about different types of teeth (canine, incisor, molar) and their function by having students explore their own teeth.
    4. Becoming a skull detective by looking at 3 different animal skulls and observing their teeth. Using knowledge learned about types of teeth to figure out if that animal is a carnivore, omnivore, or herbivore.
    5. Checking their own answers and discovering which animal that skull belongs too.
    6. Choosing one of the animal skulls to draw. Labeling the teeth with the correct terms: canine, inscior, or molar. Thinking about different features on the skull such as the eyes.
  3. After students have done the activity have students share their skull sketches with you.