Jim Hakala thinks students should have a chance to hold history in their hands. So the senior educator at the CU Museum of Natural History made it his mission to provide them with the opportunity to touch fossilized fern, dinosaur bone, ancient pottery and more. Hakala has delivered free fossil and archaeology kits to nearly 30,000 fourth graders at schools across Colorado. Museum education staff, along with paleontology curators, collection managers and local teachers, developed the fossil kits.
The archaeology kits draw on the research of Steve Lekson, professor of anthropology and the museum’s archaeology curator. Hakala also trains teachers how to implement the standards-based curriculum. Danae Rosso, a fourth-grade teacher in Gilcrest, says handling real and cast artifacts increases her students' understanding and enthusiasm for learning. “Without support from this program, I would never be able to offer the rich learning experience the archaeology kit provides,” Rosso says.
Steve Lekson; CU Museum of Natural History; Outreach and Engagement; Geology; Archeology; 300+ Colorado elementary schools