Hands-On Learning: Fossils in the Classroom

Bruce J. MacFadden, Ph.D. Curator of Vertebrate Paleontology and Professor at the Florida Museum of Natural History, University of Florida has a newly funded RET project with a “broader impact deliverable”. A National Science Foundation-funded Program, RET stands for Research Experiences for Teachers. For this project, Dr. MacFadden, working with teachers in California, visited the Cesar Chavez Middle School (Watsonville CA) for some in classroom, hands-on learning. The 11-13 year old students ‘built’ their own fossil museum based on fossils collected last year from the Gatún Formation in Panama, one of the richest fossil sites in the world.  The fossils were collected in cooperation with Partnerships in International Research and Education (PIRE). A key teaching tool for this effort is the pictured poster, created with iDigBio funds and produced by iDigBio scientist Austin Hendy.

Three Boys collect Fossils at the Gatún Formation, Panama during the 2013 PIRE/iDigBio project