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educating about dinosaurs and science
Mr. Tillett raises some very interesting issues in his posting.
I teach a dinosaur course at Queens College in NYC, the standard "rocks
for jocks" fare. Because I feel students need to learn to write I have always
used a number of short written assignments. One of the most interesting is
the one due in the last week of the course, in which students are expected
to have found an unusual dinosaur product (literally anything from soup
to nuts). They then have to provide an evaluation of the scientific
accuracy of the product given the current knowledge about dinosaurs.
An equally intriguing assignment occurs much earlier where they must
evaluate the myths in a piece of popular culture (movie, book, TV show,
children's book, etc.). I am continually amazed at the schlock out there.
On the subject of dinosaur models, I remember my first dinosaurs. These
were collectible cards out of tea packages. In Canada, red rose tea
had these card collections that covered everything from birds, mammals,
butterflies, and naturally dinosaurs. Not long after, they or some other
food company (maybe Kellogg's) introduced plastic dinos about 10 cm high.
Naturally, they would considered horrendous by today's standards, but
they weren't far off illustrations in Colbert's books (remember this was
1960-1965). I should see if I can find these in the junk my mother still saves
for visiting kids to play with....
Bonnie Blackwell, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dept of Geology, (718) 997-3332
Queens College, City University of New York, fax: 997-3349
Flushing, NY 11367-1597