“The hands-on learning definitely brings science to life for the students. You can see the excitement in their eyes,” said Bronx P.S. 36 fourth grade teacher Leana Perez, whose 28 students, all members of the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club (BGC) in the Bronx, NY, took part in an exciting array of activities on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at the American Museum of Natural History (AMNH), all designed exclusively around National Fossil Day.
The fourth graders, most of whom were seeing the American Museum of Natural History for the first time, were treated to a unique field trip with the help of Samsung and the AMNH, which organized a dozen kid-centered activities set up in the Grand Gallery of the iconic museum.
Students examined fossilized egg shells, handled petrified wood dating back 50 to 75 million years and marveled at dinosaur bones that have transformed into rock through the ages. They learned about fossil discoveries in areas as close as upstate New York and saw how the limbs of vertebrate animals evolved in water, not on land.
“They know that it was female and that she was living 3.2 million years ago,” exclaimed Darelyn A., one of the students attending, who was especially interested in the replica of the skull of Lucy, a partial skeleton of an ancient ancestor to humans that paleontologists discovered in 1974.
“Some students learn better with tactile things. Some are visual learners,” Perez said, and added that she’s looking forward to incorporating lessons from Fossil Day into her fourth-grade curriculum. “This is something I wish they could do more often, because they do learn more from it.
Another student, Christian M., said his favorite activity was digging up fossils with picks and brushes. The museum’s permanent exhibit of “giant” dinosaurs was inspiring, too, he said. “It was telling me that there were things that were bigger than us millions of years ago.”
Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club Director of Operations Jaynemarie Enyonam Angbah said that broadening the connection between the classroom and the world of science is what the Samsung-BGC partnership is all about.
“Seeing these artifacts in the context of a museum expanded the cultural landscape of our youth and opened their eyes to something new. It is experiential learning at its height,” Angbah said.
“Visiting the American Museum of Natural History on Fossil Day was a phenomenal and impactful experience for the children of P.S. 36.”
The AMNH field trip for BGC members was the second facilitated by Samsung this year as part of the company’s focus on fueling science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) education beyond the walls of the traditional classroom and bringing learning to life for all students.