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Even at a young age children are excited to learn about the ferocious animals that once roamed the planet.
St. Clare of Assisi elementary school on 1911 Hone Avenue welcomed a visit by the American Museum of Natural History on Thursday, March 10 during an educational week dedicated to teaching their pre-k and kindergarten classes about dinosaurs and other monster-like animals that became extinct millions of years ago.
Although the museum is located in Manhattan, the AMNH provides special moveable museum trucks to schools and other learning centers throughout New York City, and Councilman Jimmy Vacca was able to arrange the museum’s paleontology truck to pay a visit to St. Clare’s.
“Even though the kids are so young they are very enthusiastic when it comes to learning about dinosaurs,” said school principal Janice Desmond. “We’ve had the truck here once before and the students absolutely loved it. Councilman Vacca notified us of the opportunity and now we hope to do this every year for our young learners. I even learned more about dinosaurs.”
The students were first taken on a virtual tour of the Gobi Desert in Mongolia where thousands of artifacts have been retrieved by paleontologists.
After, they were taken inside the moveable museum where the children viewed replicas of fossils and learned more about the lives that dinosaurs once lived.
Russell Taragan, one of the instructors on the moveable museum, believes mobile scientific learning for young students is vital to their education, especially for children who are not able to explore the American Museum of Natrual History’s main location in Manhattan.
“The children deserve to be a part of this experience, especially when they are learning about dinosaurs in school,” Taragan said.
“You can learn just about anything through dinosaurs, especially mathematics and literacy skills. The kids see a big blue truck and immediately become excited and once they come inside, the whole dinosaur experience keeps them interested.”
Parents were allowed to join the students and their teachers on the bus to read more about dinosaurs and fossils, and were assisted by instructors who demonstrated each station to the children, such as how dinosaurs became extinct and how fossil imprints were made.
The moveable museum is funded by City Council and Councilman Vacca has been an adamant supporter of what the AMNH truck provides for young learners.
“The program began five years ago and every year I am able to select schools within my district to have the truck visit,” Vacca said.
“Principal Desmond reached out to me and said she would love to have the truck visit the school again and I was more than happy to arrange that. It really is a wonderful experience for young students. It brings science and history right to their doorstep.”
©2011 Community Newspaper Group
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