ASHFALL DISCOVERIES: THE CHALLENGE OF PROVIDING REALISTIC PALEONTOLOGICAL EXPERIENCE TO GRADE SCHOOL STUDENTS ON NATIONAL PARK SERVICE LANDS
The Ashfall Discoveries Simulated Field Site is an educational program used to introduce students to the scientific method, paleontological field documentation, laboratory techniques, and finally the conceptual value of museum exhibits in an exciting interactive learning environment.
In order to avoid damage to fossil resources, and the disappointment of non-productive field prospecting for fractured and infrequent fossil specimens, fossil replicas are used in several applications to simulate field and laboratory techniques.
Teachers of grades 3-6 find value in the range of Oregon Department of Education science curriculum goals met by this 2 hour program. Many teachers have returned with their classes every year for the last 4 years. Ashfall Discoveries serves the mission of the National Park Service by striking a balance between protection of fragile non-renewable resources and an educational experience that instills a sense of stewardship in the very children who will one day be entrusted with the care of these same resources.