Friday, July 10, 2015

Dinosaur Detectives

We've had an exciting week of prehistoric sleuth work here at Camp Explorations!  Campers put on their paleontological thinking caps to solve all sorts of dinosaur mysteries!

Making some "fast fossils"

On Monday we answered the question, "What is a fossil?"  Campers demonstrated one type of fossilization process, permineralization and then created their own fossils (make sure to take your's out of the bag and set it in a sunny place!).  We also learned about how paleoartists determine what an extinct animal may have looked like and matched reconstructions to their fossil remains.  Lastly, campers discovered how rare fossilization is!  We played a game to demonstrate approximately how many animals go on to become fossils.  Ask your camper what his or her fate was.

Matching fossils with their reconstructions

Tuesday was all about predators and their prey, so we focused on the question, "What's for dinner?"  We learned about some famous (and not-so-famous) predator/prey relationships from the prehistoric world on a tour with the counselors, matched teeth fossils to their prehistoric owners, and even had a special visit from a dinosaur friend!  Campers "fed" dinosaurs in a special bean bag toss, but be sure to ask them what happened if they fed a pterosaur.
Sarah the Triceratops visited!
Everyone was excited to meet her!
Playing "Feed the Dinosaurs."  
Following fossil trackways.
Campers put their skills to the test on Wednesday to solve some fossil mysteries.  They were given fossils and worked as a team to deduce what they could from them and from extra information they were given.  We also went for a short walk around campus to find special fossil trackways.  Campers learned the stories from these footprints and had a great time doing so!  Lastly, they worked together to put together dinosaur puzzles to see what it's like to do so with a real fossil skeleton.

This group correctly identified their fossil!

Working hard to put together a Velociraptor fossil puzzle.

Working on their pterosaurs.
On Thursday we answered the question, "Is that a dinosaur?"  Campers learned the "rules" of being a dinosaur and then used that knowledge to correctly identify prehistoric animals and play "Dinosaur Says."  A quick clip from Dinosaur Train helped us learn about the mammals that lived during the Mesozoic Era.  Ask your camper about some of their defining features!  We rounded out the day by crafting a popular prehistoric reptile, a pterosaur.  Some people may be surprised to find out that these flying friends were not actually dinosaurs!  Ask your camper to explain why.

Is it a dinosaur?
Some colorful dinosaur feathers.
Last, but definitely not least, we tackled the question we all want to know:  "Where did all of the dinosaurs go?"  We played games to understand what happened after the KT Impact and how those led to the mass extinction.  Campers also learned about the dinosaurs that survived and still thrive today.  We studied some prehistoric ancestors of these modern-day dinosaurs and learned how they evolved into what they are now.  Still can't figure out what animals these may be?  Ask your camper!

Watch Archaeopteryx glide!
We've had a great time this week and we hope you did, too!  Thanks for joining us for Dinosaur Detectives!

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