This week, students in grade 4 learned that up until 1978 in Alberta, anyone who wanted to could take fossils and keep them for themselves. In 1978 that all changed when the government introduced a law that stipulates that anyone who finds a fossil must report the find to the government. We learned in class about a girl who found a fossil on the surface of the ground. She reported her fossil find to a paleontologist at the Royal Tyrrell Museum in Drumheller who informed her that it was a squid fossil. Since these are very common types of fossils she was allowed to keep her find. The law was passed to protect Alberta's fossil heritage and is one of the strictest laws on the books in the world. In class this week 4E and 4F worked on expressing their opinions about the issue of how Alberta's fossil heritage should be protected. Students were exposed to different points of view from paleontologists, government officials, people who enjoy making jewellery from ammonites and fossil hunters. They considered these various different viewpoints as they expressed their opinions by speaking and crafted their own written responses. They have been considering issues from multiple points of view and explaining which one they agree with most. Below are some of the words they are incorporating into their written responses:
Students used the knowledge gained through classroom discussion/debate and by looking at the textbook. The phrases above were introduced to students and they were encouraged to use them in their opinion pieces. The writing process involves pre-writing; in class we had a discussion and engaged in a class-wide activity where students had to choose one of four corners to go to to react to statements about how to conserve fossils. Secondly, we did some research using our text books to discover who holds different opinions and how these opinions differ a lot. Finally, we looked briefly at the website of the Royal Tyrrell Museum and we viewed the rooms inside the museum using the Google Earth app and read about the law of 1978. All students are encouraged to look at the Royal Tyrrell's website to see how the museum contributes to scientific knowledge regarding Alberta’s fossil heritage: www.tyrrellmuseum.com/ Many students have a good plan about what they will say in their opinion pieces and they are now typing using computers. We learned how to log into our CBE Google accounts. Next week, students will investigate the various aspects of the program in order to self-edit their writing and share their opinion pieces with Mr. Brewer.