For a change of pace today, we took a breather in all our activities and I decided that I would show students the video that the Discovery Channel made about the mastodons. I'm not much for using lots of longer videos...but this is a good exception. Mastodons in your Backyard explains how a family found mastodon bones which led to a local scientist along with many, many volunteers uncovered one of the most intact mastodon skeleton ever discovered. And this video helps students to see what part they are playing as Citizen Scientsts.
What was so much fun was that students began to recognize the large Ziploc bags.....
"Hey those are like the bags we had our marl in".....
"Hey are they talking about a place like where our mastodon came from?"
"Hey wait a minute,"......and they'd sort of re-group...."that IS our mastodon!!"
"No way....that's our project!!"
They were so excited. As they watched the video, they recognized many of the details and ideas they had gathered in their own research.
Here students are creating a comparison between mastodons & mammoths
Most wished they had the chance to talk to the scientists that ran the project because now they really have questions. This group wants to discuss how they compared the mastodons and the mammoths. And students appreciated how the scientists wanted to share the discovery of this mastodon with others....and in particular with classroom like ours.
One student asked me...."does that make us mini-scientists?" I think it does!!!
Once again I learn that asking students to do real work affirms them and gives them loads of motivation. Watching their faces as they saw the mastodon skeleton rise up out of the muddy dig site showed me they were 100% involved. And they could imagine doing that kind of work when they grow up. Now I just have to wait about 15 years to see if any become paleontologists.