Today we met with some other homeschooling friends and participated in the Mastodon Matrix Project. The project allows school children from all over to actually assist paleontologists who have unearthed a nearly complete Mastodon skeleton in Hyde Park, New York! Mastodons are close relatives to the more commonly known wooly mammoths.
For a very small fee, you can order a .5-1.0 kg. bag of the matrix, which is the surrounding material near the skeleton, that helps these scientists learn about the plant and animal life that lived during the same time as the mastodon. Our 4th-8th graders were finding fossilized mastodon hairs, shells, pieces of plant life, smaller animal bones, and other interesting pieces of the Pleistocene era.
To learn how you can order your own piece of this historic find, and volunteer to assist the professionals, go to Scistarter.com. You can also simply learn about these amazing creatures, watch videos of the dig site and see dramatic interpretive museum videos as well. You never know if you could be raising future paleontologists, or simply discovering fun facts about earth’s past. Either way, it is one more exciting way to learn beyond the book!
For a printable .pdf drawing of a labeled mastodon skeleton (great for younger students to color, or older ones to learn all the body parts) go to the Museum of Earth‘s site.