This past summer, 26 teachers from 11 states across the country joined our fieldwork team for four days of research and education in the Hell Creek area near Jordan, Montana.
The participants included a mix of elementary, middle, and high school educators from a diverse set of backgrounds. Upon arrival, the teachers immediately jumped into the role of researchers, collecting and interpreting paleontological and geological data alongside experts in the field. Working with professors, graduate students, and undergraduate students from the University of Washington and other institutions, participants logged stratigraphic sections, collected samples of fossil-rich sediment, excavated dinosaur skeletons, and reconstructed the ecological history of the area.
In addition to the above activities, participants had the chance to traverse rugged Montana landscapes, meet some of the local ranchers, and experience what it's really like to stay in a remote field camp, all while expanding their geoscience content knowledge and understanding of the scientific process.
Here's what a few teachers had to say about their experience:
“One of the best professional learning experiences I could ask for. It shattered many misconceptions I had about the nature of ‘doing science’ and will make me a better science teacher.”
“The number one thing I plan on taking back is telling my students about what doing science is actually like in the field. I [want to] teach them that there is a wide range of ways to be a scientist. It does not always involve being inside wearing a lab coat.”
We say this every year, but this was easily one of the best groups of teachers yet. Take a look through this photo journal of the 2018 DIG Field School to relive the adventure!
Photo credits: Garry Norman