Posts Tagged ‘fossils’

I grew up with one of my older brothers, Richard, being really into dinosaurs. When we were little, he used to collect those little plastic dinosaurs, the ones that were about three to five inches. He taught us the names of each one and some basic facts like whether they were carnivores, omnivores, or herbivores. He used to set them all up and make them fight each other!

Decades later, when I became a mom and my son was around seven, he really got into dinosaurs. I already knew some of the facts about them and I am one of those moms that tries to facilitate when her little ones are interested in so I got him the plastic dinosaurs like my brother had so long before, except that my brother’s were bright primary colors and my sons were neutral colors and supposed to be more real! As he got into dinosaurs, we got books and videos and, because we lived in southern California, we were less than a half hour from the La Brea Tar Pits where we could go and learn about dinosaurs. If you don’t know about the La Brea Tar Pits, it’s in the middle of busy Los Angeles, right on Wilshire Boulevard in the part that was called the Miracle Mile, with businesses and shopping all around them. The tar pits were neat because you could walk up and watch the tar bubbling up and look at the replica woolly mammoths that were stuck in the tar. It was really called the Page Museum of Natural History, but I think it may have changed names. They had a lot more than dinosaurs in there. My kids used to love to go see the woolly mammoth. They had a skeleton of a woolly mammoth that was really breath taking. At that time, admission was free. I just checked and kid admission is seventeen dollars! Wow. I would have gone broke if I had to pay seventeen dollars for each of my kids each time we went to see the tar pits!

A few weeks ago, while discussing what he wanted to study next, Anderson said he wanted to learn about fossils and dinosaurs. He’s that age. He just turned eight and is in second grade so the timing is just right. I decided to plan a unit on dinosaurs that we could do during the summer. However, I did go online to see if we could go see some fossils somewhere near. Well, the University of Oregon has an excellent exhibit but they are in Eugene which is about ninety minutes from here so it’s not as easily doable as I would like. There is also a small exhibit at Portland State but I read that it is really just a display in the hallway of the offices at the college and not meant for the public to go see, especially not kids. Then I saw that the local library had a presentation scheduled for March where an archaeologist from U of O would come with fossils and bones and skeletons of dinosaurs and other extinct mammals. Yes!

Well, the presentation was on Tuesday and I actually remembered. He hadn’t been feeling well but he wanted to go so we went and it was great! It was very low key and not well attended but that made it nicer for the ones that did attend because there was more hands on time and they could ask all the questions they wanted. I was actually impressed with Anderson. I often wonder about the homeschooling and how it will effect him with interacting with others who go to regular school. He did great. He raised his hands to answer questions and ask them and he was right on target with the comments and questions. Yay!

We learned about the dire wolf and the saber tooth cat and the sloth. The lady brought a box of fossils with her that the kids got to hold and manipulate. Apparently, they were found at Fossil Lake quite some time ago but the person that collected them took them home and put them in his yard then year later, he brought them to the university and turned them in for their use. Because they had been removed from the area so long ago and there was no documentation, the university could not put them on display so they use them for education purposes and the go out to schools and libraries so that kids can see them and touch them and hold them. Neat!

Anderson’s interest in fossils and dinosaurs made me smile and think of the other little boys in my life that have had the interest and the ones that will have it soon. I figure Spencer will get there in another couple of years then Mati a couple of years after that. I have lots of time to get my dinosaur and fossil files together!

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