2004 Denver Annual Meeting (November 7–10, 2004)

Paper No. 3
Presentation Time: 2:00 PM


TREWORGY, Janis D.1, VAIDEN, Robert C.2, GREENBERG, Sallie E.2, PLANK, Cynthia3, WALSH, Tracie4 and SLATTERY, William5, (1)Geology, Principia College, 1 Maybeck Place, Elsah, IL 62028, (2)Illinois State Geol Survey, Champaign, IL 61820, (3)Bellefontaine Middle School, Bellefontaine, OH 43357, (4)C.F. Holliday Elementary School, Dayton, OH 45439, (5)Geological Sciences Education, Wright State Univ, Dayton, OH 45435, jdt@prin.edu

The discovery of a woolly mammoth, Mammuthus primigenius, on the campus of Principia College, located on the bluffs of the Mississippi River at Elsah, Illinois, is bringing geology into the K-12 curriculum of schools in Illinois and beyond. While excavation of the skeletal elements and laboratory preparation of bones are the core aspect of a field course on mammoths and Ice Age geology for college students, the procedures and information are being shared with K-12 teachers in ways that allow them to incorporate the content into their curriculum.

This year two workshops providing content, activities, and lesson plans on mammoths and the Ice Age were given to K-12 teachers. Content included evolution of mammoths and other proboscideans, habitat, diet, extinction, the Pleistocene Epoch in North America, and glaciers and their effect on the landscape and sea level. Basic concepts of fossils and the soil/rock record, radiocarbon dating, and taphonomy were also covered. Models of mammoth teeth and bones, hands-on activities, and worksheet activities were shared with the teachers. Each teacher made a plaster cast of a proboscidean tooth utilizing an osteology kit available to teachers from The Mammoth Site in Hot Springs, South Dakota.

The co-authors from Ohio are working with the Cornell University Mastodon Matrix Project, in which K-12 students participate in authentic research through sieving matrix from a mastodon excavation in New York. In conjunction with the project, these teachers have developed lesson plans for teaching students about mammoths, other Ice Age animals, and Ice Age geology. They shared their lesson plans at the workshops, including letting teachers sieve matrix from both the New York and Illinois proboscidean sites.

Several teachers who attended these workshops are already using the workshop content and resources with their classes and have brought their students to see the Principia mammoth excavation and lab. Young campers from a nearby nature camp have visited our site this summer and learned about mammoths and what their teeth tell us as they have made plaster casts of teeth. One teacher from a rural county has received a grant to put together a county-wide unit on mammoths. Funds will support a field trip to visit the Principia site.