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Teacher Newsmagazine Volume 17, Number 1, September 2004

Travel back 170 million years

by Doreen Murphy and Denise Brown

You are on a journey back in time. You are travelling back 170 million years to the cretaceous period, when B.C. was under water, and tropical Alberta was home to the amazing dinosaurs. Thus begins our journey into paleontology with our Grade 6 and 7 students. During May and June, we delve into the geological history of Western Canada and the exploration of dinosaurs and their demise. We conclude the unit with a four-day trip to Drumheller, Alberta. A favourite memory of many of our students, the annual trip is a tradition at our brick school, Armstrong Elementary. Day One, we drive in our school bus to Drumheller. We stop for lunch at Emerald Lake and take in the beautiful sight of this glacier lake. Our first night is in a Quonset hut at the Drumheller Dinosaur Campground. We arrange beds, eat dinner, swim in the outdoor pool, and go for a hike in the hills looking for fossils. Day Two is spent in Horse Thief Canyon searching for interesting rocks and fossils. After lunch, we head to the Royal Tyrrell Museum, and the students take part in four programs facilitated by the museum staff: a jeopardy game of information relating to geology and paleontology, a dinosaur mystery game involving solving clues from a dig site, a gallery tour, and a fossil-making workshop. We swim at night at the local pool, and our night is spent sleeping under T-Rex and Albertosaurus in the dinosaur gallery. We spend Day Three at the Reptile World, and then we are off to Calgary. We visit the zoo, the Imax theatre, and a leisure center. We stay at the University of Calgary. On Day Four, we head for home, the return trip includes a guided tour of the Lake Louise Hotel and a picnic at Finn Creek. The trip is action packed, aided by three parents, and a wonderful adventure for one of the last weeks in June.

We don’t know who enjoys it more, the parents, the teachers, or the students! A trip like this confirms our philosophy that learning goes far beyond the boundaries of a classroom!

Doreen Murphy and Denise Brown teach at Armstrong Elementary School, Armstrong.

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