Paleontology Rocks!

This week campers learned all about paleontology starting with the formation of the earth going all the way to the Ice Age. Campers had a great time exploring all the different aspects of paleontology!

On Monday, we introduced geologic time and the formation of fossils! In one activity, campers put various geologic events in order, to gain perspective on how recently mammals and humans appeared! Campers were surprised to learn that even though the earth has been around for 4.6 billion years, the first early human ancestors only appeared about 4 million years ago! That is a very very small amount of time!

Campers worked together to try and figure out the correct order of events!
Campers noticed that not much happened for the first 4.1 billion years!

Next campers learned about continental drift by piecing the continents together to create Pangea! Campers put their completed work in their journal so they could take them home!

Campers finished the day by doing an activity where they learned about different creatures that came long before humans! They had to work together to try and figure out what came first and piece the puzzle together.

 

 

On Tuesday, campers learned about what became before dinosaurs and went in depth about fossils and the process of fossilization. Campers started the afternoon by looking at some fossils.

They then played the fossilization game! Each camper picked a different animal or plant to act out. After dramatically dying, campers found out their fates. They learned that very few actually became fossils, most campers either dried up, rotted away or were eaten by scavengers! Campers realized just how hard it is to become a fossil!

Campers took their death scenes very seriously!
Only two out of eight campers became fossils!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next, campers learned about trilobites! Trilobites were ancient sea creatures that roamed the ocean’s depths from the beginning of the Cambrian period (570 million years ago) to the end of the Permian Period (245 million years ago). Campers got to paint a cast of a trilobite and take it home!

At the end of the day, campers learned more about the fossilization process and had the opportunity to excavate for some fossils! Campers dug through the sand to find some shark teeth!

 

 

Wednesday was all about dinosaurs! Campers spent the entire day learning about dinosaurs and making dinosaur crafts! They started the afternoon by talking about common misconceptions about dinosaurs. They then looked at a bunch of different fossils and casts of dinosaurs!

An Allosaurus claw!
A Stegosaurus tail spike!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Sauropod skin imprint fossil.
A Utah Raptor claw!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campers spent some time learning about what dinosaur names mean, like Triceratops which means three-horned face! Campers got to create their own dinosaur names and draw their creations in their journal! The campers had a lot fun coming up with the goofiest dinosaur name they could come up with!

Campers finished the day by making Stegosaurus back plates. While making back plates they also got to enjoy listening to some dinosaur songs from Storybots! So if your child can’t stop singing “My neck’s so long, my neck’s so strong” you can blame Storybots!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On Thursday, campers learned about what came after the dinosaurs and looked specifically at the Ice Age! They started by playing the mammoth extinction game all together. They rolled dice to see if their mammoth survived, died or had a calf. The first part of the game they found their population increasing. After a couple “years”, humans were introduced to the game as hunters. The campers found their mammoth herd slowly dwindling down, where eventually mammoths were extinct!

Next, campers got to create their own diorama for an Ice Age animal! Campers enjoyed being able to get as creative as they wanted.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some completed masterpieces!

Campers finished the day by being able to take a special trip over to the new museum for a sneak peek! They got to go to the second floor bridge to look at prehistoric whale skeletons that are hanging from the ceiling!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Yellow group taking a group photo!

 

 

On Friday, campers took a closer look at what it means to be a paleontologist! They started the day by putting together a wooden puzzle of a T. rex skeleton. They had to think like really paleontologists to try and figure out how the pieces fit together.  There are no directions for paleontologists when they put together a dinosaur skeleton!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Campers spent the rest of the afternoon learning about the process of finding dinosaur bones and getting them all the way to a museum by creating a comic strip! They also spent some more time learning about dinosaur names by trying to match the meaning of a dinosaur name to the correct name!

 

Overall, it was another great week of camp!