NORMAN — Ella Moxley, an eighth-grader at Whittier Middle School, is one of 14 students from across the state who recently returned from Oklahoma Science Adventure, a weeklong summer field science experience hosted by the Sam Noble Museum of Natural History.
The students spent the July 7 - 13 exploring a variety of scientific disciplines and working directly with museum scientists.
The students conducted field research at several locations in Oklahoma, including the Rogers County Conservation District in Claremore, working with zoologists from the University of Oklahoma and Rogers State University.
Like professional scientists in the field, students were asked to make a hypothesis, collect data from area wetlands and forests, and draw conclusions based on their findings. They also learned techniques for tracking modern animals from associate staff curator of vertebrate paleontology Nick Czaplewski. In addition, Katrina Menard, curator of recent invertebrates, joined the group in Claremore to assist students in exploring entomology.
The students also investigated an Oklahoma fossil site known as “Whitemound,” an ancient shallow ocean where, more than 400 million years ago, an assortment of animals including trilobites, crinoids, brachiopods and corals lived.
Czaplewski assisted students in collecting a variety of fossils. Based on their understanding of modern animals and fossil evidence, they constructed an example of what an ancient ecosystem might have looked like.
Moxley’s favorite part of the week was digging for invertebrate fossils.
Another one of the student’s favorite activities of the week was canoeing down the Illinois River. The students also went through the OU ropes course and spent a night at the museum in the Hall of Ancient Life, looking up at the famed Apatosaurus and Saurophaganax, locked in battle, in the exhibit “Clash of the Titans.”
Oklahoma Science Adventure is part of the ExplorOlogy® Program, a museum educational project funded in part by the Whitten-Newman Foundation. In addition to OSA, ExplorOlogy® also includes “Paleo Expedition,” a two-week paleontology program for high school students; “SciencEscape,” a spring break program for teachers and students to enjoy together; and “Science Institute,” a professional development opportunity of teachers. All programs are provided at no cost to participants.
Additional information about Oklahoma Science Adventure and other ExplorOlogy® Programs, is available online at
explorology.snomnh.ou.edu, or by calling the museum education department at 325-1008.
The Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History is located on the OU Norman campus at Timberdell Road and Chautauqua Avenue.