With financial support from a successful National Environmental Education Foundation (NEEF) grant, CCA recently partnered with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and the Museums of Western Colorado (MWC) to create five Paleontology Education Kits for use both in the classroom and in the field.
Designed to help teach students about the prehistoric life that once roamed western Colorado, each kit includes professional-grade replicas of fossils originally discovered in the now world famous paleontological sites located in Rabbit Valley within the McInnis Canyons NCA.
In addition to fossil replicas, each kit also include a set of fully developed lesson plans - aligned to state science standards for 4th grade, 7th grade, and high school - that encourage students to make observations in their classrooms, expand on those observations out in Rabbit Valley, and then return to their classrooms to finalize their thoughts and draw conclusions.
Further, the NEEF grant awarded to CCA included additional funds we’ll be using to partner with Dual Immersion Academy educators to implement the 4th grade lesson plans. To this end, one of the kits will be permanently housed at DIA to empower teachers to more fully integrate the lessons into their annual curriculum. As well, this fall, we’ll be heading into Rabbit Valley with DIA students where they’ll experience even more hands-on paleontology while also getting to study invasive and native plants, along with traditional technologies utilized by people who lived in western Colorado hundreds of years ago.
Finally, these educational kits can also be used more informally to help the broader public connect with, and better understand these resources. For example, CCA, BLM, and MWC staff will have these kits on hand at various events around the western slope, including outdoor festivals and science fairs.