2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
Paper No. 97-6
Presentation Time: 9:00 AM-6:00 PM

BRING AUTHENTIC RESEARCH IN YOUR K16 CLASS OR LAB WITH THE AURORA MASTODONT PROJECT

VOORHEES, David H., Earth Science / Geology Department, Waubonsee Community College, Rt 47 @ Waubonsee Dr, Sugar Grove, IL 60554, dvoorhees@waubonsee.edu, WIDGA, Chris, Illinois State Museum Research and Collections Center, 1011 East Ash St, Springfield, IL 62703, and RITTER, Paul, Pontiac High School, 1100 E Indiana Ave, Pontiac, IL 61764

Bringing cutting-edge scientific research into classrooms is pedagogically effective, fun and inspirational for students. Most obstacles to bringing research into classrooms involve identifying appropriate research topics and samples, and many times the samples involve specialized or expensive equipment. The Aurora Mastodont Project (AMP) can provide an opportunity to bring authentic research into K-16 classrooms and labs with limited logistics. We will send to your classroom a sample of screenwash to be analyzed and processed by your students.

The 2004 AMP was a joint project between the City of Aurora, the Illinois State Museum and Waubonsee Community College to uncover a (rumored) fourth mastodont skull left after multiple mastodont remains were discovered in the 1930’s by the Civil Works Administration (3 skulls, 1 jaw, 3 tusks, 3 ribs, 1 scapula, 1 ulna, 1 femur, toe bones, 1 set of articulated cervical vertebrae, 1 set of articulated thoracic vertebrae). The 2004 AMP did not recover any additional mastodont remains, but it did illustrate the scientific and pedagogic importance of the Aurora Mastodonts. One of the many results of the 2004 AMP was that we now have significant quantities of sediment from the layer that the original mastodonts were discovered in that was systematically excavated, washed, and recorded, thereby retaining its stratigraphic control. This screenwash contains small bones, snails, plants, and other debris. Small screenwash samples (~1 liter) will be sent to classrooms for sorting and description, engaging students as collaborators in site interpretation of the project. This project is contributing to the current research into climate change during the most recent glaciation 30,000 to 10,000 years ago, and extinct Midwestern megafauna. Analyses of the processed screenwash can incorporate data processing and analysis techniques, as well as interpretation of Illinois and Midwest climates, and discussion of the broader global conditions using lesson plans that will be provided.

Samples of screenwash, instructions, and lesson plans will be available, as well as contact information for obtaining samples to be used in your classroom.

2011 GSA Annual Meeting in Minneapolis (912 October 2011)
General Information for this Meeting
Session No. 97--Booth# 58
Geoscience Education (Posters) II
Minneapolis Convention Center: Hall C
9:00 AM-6:00 PM, Monday, 10 October 2011

Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 43, No. 5, p. 253

© Copyright 2011 The Geological Society of America (GSA), all rights reserved. Permission is hereby granted to the author(s) of this abstract to reproduce and distribute it freely, for noncommercial purposes. Permission is hereby granted to any individual scientist to download a single copy of this electronic file and reproduce up to 20 paper copies for noncommercial purposes advancing science and education, including classroom use, providing all reproductions include the complete content shown here, including the author information. All other forms of reproduction and/or transmittal are prohibited without written permission from GSA Copyright Permissions.