Our trip to the Carnegie Museum of Natural History went very well. We began our visit in the Bonehunters Quarry where we donned goggles and used chisels to carefully reveal fossils buried beneath the dirt. The children were excited when they realized that they could identify a couple of skulls, some teeth, and even a long set of what might be neck bones. We learned that paleontologists must be very gentle with the fossils as they unearth them. Broken fossils are not nearly as easy to work with as intact ones.
Following our digging expedition, we meandered over to the main dinosaur exhibit. Our first stop was in a section devoted to extinct underwater creatures. We looked everywhere, but could not find an example of R.’s Dinichthys. We did, however, find some models that looked as though might be relatives of his research choice.
Before entering the main dinosaur area, we climbed the stairs to the overlook. From here, we had an excellent view of the sauropods and other dinos below. When we returned downstairs, the class was surprised to find how large the models were. The Diplodocus was so long, we decided to try to measure it. Walking together, we discovered that it is 60 “steps” long from tail-tip to nose. Now we just need to walk that distance on the play ground to get a better idea of how it would fit in our space here at North. There were two Tyrannosauruses for our “soon-to-be” experts to examine. We did not find a Velociraptor, but we did see an Allosaurus, another type of carnivore. The Stegosaurus and the Triceratops were not quite as large as the children expected even though they were still large. In one of the images below, you’ll see me holding up a student next to a Diplodocus femur. We compared the length of each of the children with this bone and figured out where our own femurs are located.
On our way out of the dinosaur exhibit, we stopped for a while to view the current work of the paleontologists inside their laboratory. It was interesting to see these workers in action. Sometimes it’s hard to imagine what grown up jobs really look like.
Our plan is to bring the experience back to our classroom as we begin our Dinosaur Research Journals. Today we discussed what a journal is used for (“a place to draw pictures so that you remember stuff” – A) and what research is (“finding out things you want to know” – S).