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Amber is a fossil stone that can contain preserved insects, plants, and animals tens of millions years old. Let's go on a treasure hunt for information about this geological "frozen in time story."

The American Museum of Natural History has an exhibit called Amber: Window to the Past. You can visit it at http://www.amnh.org/exhibitions/amber/index.html. Click on the pieces of amber shown at the top of the page and read the information provided, then answer the questions below.

  • In what way is amber a "window to the past"?

  • Amber is often used in jewelry. Is amber actually a gem? What is it?

  • How do scientists believe that amber preserves organisms?

You can learn more about amber at the Why Files site. Go to http://whyfiles.org/008amber/index.html and explore the information provided there. Based on what you learned, was the movie Jurassic Park realistic? Give evidence for your point of view.

Extension Activity

Go to The Swedish Amber Museum at http://www.brost.se/. Think of a question you have about amber. Compose an e-mail message for the Swedish scientists at this museum. Send it by clicking e-mail on the left side of the screen and writing it in the space provided.

Amber Teacher's Notes

Grade Levels: 5–8

Learning Objectives:

  • Learn about amber
  • Conduct research at a Web site
  • Analyze information and draw conclusions
  • Write e-mail to scientists in another country
  • Time Required: 1–2 class periods