Gourds made to look like dinosaur eggs, traced dinosaur footprints, bones and a paper mache pterosaur in a tree were a few of the clues students in a Kids College class pieced together Monday and Tuesday to learn about the prehistoric animals.
The class, called Dinosaurs! And the clues they leave behind, left their classroom and hunted for clues in the backyard of Clovis Community College’s child care center, dotted with clues created by teacher Tisha Stewart.
“Look! Dinosaur eggs! A dinosaur footprint!” children in the class shouted as they made their way around the yard, their excitement evident in their voices.
Stewart said dinosaurs lived in what is now New Mexico and each dinosaur left a clue that suggests how it may have lived on earth, from the food it ate to the eggs they laid.
Stewart said classes like the dinosaur class are intended to encourage children to be interested in science.
“This kind of a class, where they get to touch things and use their imagination, gets kids excited and interested in the things around them,” she said. “Kids aren’t getting enough hands-on learning. We’re here to be creative.”
Stewart said she wants children to pay attention to the world around them and be curious about nature.
“Hopefully get them out of the house instead of play the Xbox,” she said.
The students took notes of their dinosaur clues and specimens they examined under a microscope. The process taught them how to use their powers of observation.
Jay Bauer of Clovis visited the class with his grandson 6-year-old Mekhi Bauer. Bauer said his grandson is a big fan of dinosaurs. After attending Stewart’s class about snakes, Bauer said they immediately signed up for the dinosaur class.
“I think this class is really well put together. She kept the students interested all the time,” Bauer said.
Bauer said he was impressed by how much time the class spent handling and inspecting items, rather than books.
“This is a better environment than just looking at a book,” he said.
Bauer said Mekhi enjoys the class and talks about it afterwards.
Melissa Vasquez said her three sons enjoy active classes like the dinosaur class.
“They’re more involved and interested,” she said. “It was a cool class. Very informative.”
Vasquez’ sons range in age from 5 through 10.
“I like Kids College because it gives them something to get into over the summer,” she said.
Daniel Bonness, 10, said the class was fun.
In the third and final class on Friday, Stewart said she’ll be giving parents a list of places to continue their children’s science education.
“That creates family time too,” she said.