Monday, September 10, 2012

Cedar Ridge Academy Day at the Museum

A group of Cedar Ridge Academy Therapeutic Boarding School students went on a trip to the Utah Field House of Natural History. The purpose of the trip was to promote an interest in science related academics among the students.

A science teacher from a local High School, a professional colleague of Cedar Ridge's science teacher Chad, guided a tour through the museum for the students. Highlights included a walk along the pathway through time and views of dinosaur skeletons and reconstructed prehistoric mammals. Students got a feel for just how large these creatures were and what they looked like.

Students learned how bones become fossils and how forms of life in this part of the world have changed through time. They gained insights on how paleontologists collect and study specimens and how they go about putting them on display in museums.

One of the things students enjoyed at the museum was engaging in some hands-on activities, where they got to do things like see what it would be like to dig through soil and uncover fossilized bones. The paintings on the wall and the decorations in the room made it feel like a real paleontology dig site, and students got a feel for what it would be like to be a paleontologist.

At the museum students got to look at a wall covered with fossils collected from sites in the Uintah Basin area of Utah. There were fossilized leaves and one fossilized fish. The students were challenged to find the fish. After a lot of searching one of the students finally found the fish (it ended up being only a couple of inches long), then showed the rest of us where it was.

After touring the inside of the museum, the students went outside and walked through the dinosaur gardens that surround the museum. This area has lifelike replicas of prehistoric animals positioned amid lush vegetation. Some of the replicas are next to a small pond, and students enjoyed watching brightly colored koi fish swimming around in the pond.

The Cedar Ridge students all seemed to have enjoyed the trip. When asked what he thought about the trip one of the boys responded: "It was fun and I enjoyed it. It was really neat to be out there and learn new things".