Virginia Tech® home

2022 | Paleontological Educational Modules: Hands-on Activities for K-12 Students


IGC Capstone Project | Interfaces of Global Change

Paleontological Educational Modules: Hands-on Activities for K-12 Students

Student Members:
Faculty Mentor:

Engaging educational material is crucial for successful understanding of global change issues for K-12 students. Inspired by our experiences using 3D printed fossil replicas in science outreach events at Virginia Tech and Petrified Forest National Park and informed by input from science educators like Mariah Green from the Virginia Tech Museum of Geosciences, we undertook an IGC capstone project focused on using 3D printed fossils as accessible hands-on learning tools. Two activity kits were designed including: [1] using 3D printed fossils from the age of dinosaurs in Virginia satisfying grade 3 Virginia Science Standards of Learning focused on understanding fossils, ecosystems, environmental change, and food webs; and [2] using 3D printed extant and extinct tetrapod limbs to satisfy high school biology Virginia Standards of Learning focused on understanding evolution, homology, and the fossil record. Our activities act to serve K-12 students through highlighting required learning concepts from the Virginia Standards of Learning, and more importantly provide an engaging opportunity to learn about concepts of global change from a deep-time perspective. A powerful aspect of these kits is the transferrable nature of 3D fossil data - 3D models used in these kits can be printed on any standard 3D printer, allowing for digital transfer and remote replication of these activity kits at any educational institution with 3D printing technology. We intend to carry forward the frameworks of this Capstone Project to create similar hands-on educational activities in our post-graduate careers.