But Megalodon, an extinct shark that could grow up to 60-feet -- about four times the length of an average four-door sedan -- was only one of the ancient animals generating enthusiasm among the seventh-graders in teacher
Friday, the students celebrated the opening of A Blast from the
Posters about the saber-toothed tiger, mastodon, dire wolf, ancient horses and Megalodon lined the classroom walls. Boxes of fossils filled tables for sketching and identifying. Games created by students tested the knowledge of players.
For Madden, a veteran science instructor, the museum, proposed and developed by students, was proof that her own teaching reached new levels through her participation in a program linking teachers with scientists conducting field studies.
"I've never seen (students) work so hard," said Madden, who challenged her class to finish required studies early so they'd have time to pursue the museum project.
Last summer, Madden and several teachers from
"My goal is to allow them to experience authentic research, working alongside scientists," said
As he explored the exhibits, MacFadden said the students' museum was the kind of inquiry-based, hands-on learning the program aimed to encourage.
Santa Cruz Superintendent
"It's totally transformed me," Madden said.
Her students were impressed.
"It's my favorite class," said
"I was really interested in them," she said. "And it was fun working with a group and making a project so other people could see it."
The museum will be open to Cesar Chavez students next week.
The keynote speaker for the museum opening was
Students had their own questions. Why did Megalodon go extinct? No one knows for sure, but climate change is a possibility, Pimiento said. Did today's sharks evolve from Megalodon? No, but they're related, like cousins, she said.
"These questions you are asking are the same questions we scientists have," Pimiento said.
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