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Troy Middle School science students use Skype to learn about paleontology

4/4/2016, 1:38 p.m.
Students learned about fossils and took a virtual tour of laboratory with Ohio University professor and graduate students.
Troy School District 30c

Ohio University paleontologist Dr. Matthew Borths and graduate student Catherine Early Skyped with Troy Middle School eighth-graders recently about dinosaurs, prehistoric mammals and the importance of discoveries of fossils even as tiny as a mouse’s tooth.

"Students were captivated with seeing what it is like to be a real scientist, and they were ready with questions about his journeys and fossil finds,” said Troy Middle School science teacher Dr. Barbara Will-Henn. “It’s thrilling to be able to provide these opportunities with technology that would otherwise never happen.”

Troy Community School District 30-C differentiated instructional coach Colleen Hanson assisted Will-Henn with the connection.

Will-Henn’s students had just completed their initial unit on the history of the earth, fossil records, timeline analysis, index fossil identification and plaster casts of fossil remains.

During the Skype session, Borths gave students a glimpse into the life and lab of a paleontologist, including a virtual tour of his lab. Borths’ specialty is unearthing and studying fossils of small carnivorous mammals during periods through the Cenozoic Era in the United States, Germany, Kenya and Madagascar. Through Borths’ website, www.pasttime.org, he and two partners schedule online and in-person presentations to classrooms, tailoring their lectures to the interests of the students and their science curricula.