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Paper No. 1
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-6:00 PM


KLEINKNECHT, Gary C., Social Science Department, Kamiakin High School, 600 North Arthur St, Kennewick, WA 99336, BARTON, Bax R., Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, and Quaternary Research Center, University of Washington, Box 351360, Seattle, WA 98195-1360 and LAST, George V., Geosciences Group, Pacfic Northwest National Lab, P.O. Box 999, MS K6-81, Richland, WA 99352-0999,

In the spring of 2008 a graduate student and faculty member at Central Washington University (CWU) contacted the senior author about a reported mammoth find on property within the Kamiakin High School service area in Kennewick, Washington. The graduate student was interested in exploring the possibility of involving high school students in the paleontological excavation of mammoth bones. Arrangements were made for high school students to visit the site and begin exploratory excavation under the supervision of a professional paleontologist along with a team of CWU students. Initial observations yielded mammoth bones in Touchet Bed sediments from gigantic Ice Age floods (i.e. the Missoula Floods). At that time the property was for sale and two local farmers purchased it with the intent that a program be developed for local students to experience science in the field. To further this goal the Mid-Columbia Basin Old Natural Education Sciences (MCBONES) Research Center Foundation, a Washington State non-profit corporation, was established.

The program is designed to expose students to various Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) concepts relative to the paleontological dig. Archaeology, geology and paleontology are not extensively taught in public secondary schools in Washington. This program represents an opportunity for students to work with STEM concepts through an interdisciplinary approach. Students are members of the Kamiakin High School Mammoth Club and take field trips to the excavation under the supervision of the club supervisors. Classes in the Kennewick School District for which the dig offers project opportunities include forensics, biology, language arts, technology, art, and mathematics. The project also affords opportunities to develop topics for required culminating projects.

Soliciting local businesses for donations for equipment and materials for the excavation has developed community support. Local educators, organizations and private individuals are being recruited and trained to mentor students who participate in the dig. The goal is for experienced students to help train those new to the program in an on going cycle. Workshops have been held for educators and other community volunteers.

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