Friday, November 16, 2012

Paleontology Badge

Will I become a fossil?
Twelve Quest Club members met yesterday to work on their Paleontology Badge. (Paleontology is the science of the forms of life existing in former geologic periods, as represented by fossil animals and plants.) They participated in three activities: the Fossilization Game, extracting "fossils," and learning about the Mesozoic Era.

In the Fossilization Game, students pretended to be an animal or plant of his/her choosing. After acting this out, they pretended to die. A slip of paper drawn from a box told them how they died and if they became a fossil. Some animals were washed away by the current, eaten by an alligator or covered in a mudslide. Two students became fossils during the first round of this game and one during the second. The game is designed to show that not all animals or plants turn into fossils.

Fossil extraction.
Then students practiced their extraction skills on chocolate chip cookies. The chocolate chips in the cookies represented fossils and the toothpicks they used to dig them out represented the various tools paleontologists might use to extract a fossil from the ground. The goal was to extract the chips from one hard cookie and one soft cookie without damaging them. The students experienced the precise detail work that successful fossil extraction requires.

Sorting Mezosoic flora and fauna.
The last section of the badge work involved sorting various flora and fauna into their appropriate period of the Mesozoic Era: Triassic, Jurassic, or Cretaceous.

Our next meeting will be in January, when we will work on our Snow Badge.

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