Friday, July 14, 2006

A Lesson in Paleontology

I was reading a great blog titled, "Lost in Kids: My Dinner with Raphael" and remembered a lesson I taught to second graders. It was a great idea that I let fall by the wayside.

I went to the meat market of my favorite supermarket and asked the butcher to save me some big bones. He said he had some and brought some little bones from the back. I told him I was a school teacher and wanted big bones that would look like dinosaur bones. Did he have any dinosaur sized bones? He said he'd get some later when he cut around the hip joints and asked me to come back later. Sure enough, a week later I had some cow hip bones that were pretty sizeable, at least to a second grader. I let them dry in the back yard and bleach in the sun for a while, then I took them to the schoolyard and dug a hole and buried them when no one was watching.

Weeks later my class did a study of dinosuars and how paleontologists dig up dinosaur bones. I told my students that dinosuars roamed the earth long ago right here in our area of the country. When one of them finally suggested we go looking for some bones, we went on a dig. I was very fortunate. I was able to direct the kids right to the spot where we found some huge bones. We used little brushes and whisk brooms and dug up some neat looking bones. The kids were pretty excited, and the bones were impressive looking.

I have been teaching fourth and fifth graders and haven't used that lesson on them. I figure somebody would think of the possibilty that I might be tricking them and that would take away all the fun , enjoyment, and learning out of the lesson. However, I am sure there are some young adults right now who remember that second grade paleontogy lesson and wonder why I would trick little kids like that. Shame on me!

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