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Teachers get an orientation into the day's topics (how to identify rock layers) and work (finding fossil-bearing rock layers - and fossils!)
Teachers get an orientation into the day’s topics (how to identify rock layers) and work (finding fossil-bearing rock layers – and fossils!)

The Discoveries in Geosciences (DIG) Field School is a unique, non-profit education and outreach program for K–12 teachers and students created by University of Washington Burke Museum paleontologists.

The mission of the DIG Field School is to connect K–12 STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) teachers with scientific research and researchers through ongoing professional development and teaching curricula. Fossils spark student (and teacher!) interest and provide a fun and exciting way to engage with science, including field research methods, critical thinking, and examining evidence. The DIG provides teachers with a hands-on, immersive learning experience through a four-day program at an active field research site in the Hell Creek area of northeastern Montana, and provides students with year-round educational support and engagement, as well as participation in authentic research at the University of Washington (UW). This “real world” education and professional development is a critical to increasing teacher effectiveness and student engagement.

DIG teacher and student participants work on several university-level research projects and collaborate with leading research faculty and graduate students from a number of institutions, including UW, the University of California, and University of Chicago. This citizen science endeavor helps improve student comprehension of scientific methods and concepts, also directly contributes to our understanding of the extinction of non-avian dinosaurs and rise of mammals.

The DIG strives to develop and foster a continuing relationship with our participants. To that end, our program has developed innovative curricula and classroom activities aligned with the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that teach science as a process and bring real science into the classroom. You can read more about our field program and our teaching and outreach methods here.