By Laurie Giarratani
Recently I had dinner with friends, one of whom recently visited Carnegie Museum of Natural History on a school field trip. After dinner Mira Conti, age 5, showed me a project that she completed as homework after her visit. The task: to create a three dimensional dinosaur based on what she learned at the museum.
Mira chose Dippy as her model, shown above. Three things delight me about this creation:
1) It features a plant! In Mira’s mini diorama, Dippy gracefully grazes on a leafy tree top, showing that dinosaurs were part of a complex ecosystem and evolved alongside diverse plant life.
2) Dippy’s tail extends in a powerful arc, held high off the ground. Form and function are key evolutionary concepts that we strive to make accessible to every age level through the museum’s education programs. It’s nice to see how one such detail sticks in a young mind.
3) We welcome over 25,000 school children annually on field trips, and every day we are astounded by their joy, curiosity, and the unpredictable ways that they connect their existing knowledge to new discoveries at the museum. Very rarely do we get a window into what aspects of their museum experience resonate with them later at home, at school, and in their communities.
I’d like to thank Mira for showing me her project, and thank her teachers at Sacred Heart Elementary School for taking the time and effort to plan their field trip along with such a creative homework assignment. I hope to see you all again at the museum soon!
Laurie Giarratani works in the Education department at Carnegie Museum of Natural History. Museum employees are encouraged to blog about their unique experiences and knowledge gained from working at the museum.