There’s no need to drive to Atlanta or another major city to view dinosaur fossils; the Mesozoic Era is officially here in Hall County.
Adding to the Mosasaurus currently on display at the Da Vinci Academy’s Museum of Inspired Learning, a more recognizable reptile is set to join the herd.
“We’re about to unveil our Triceratops fossil that was donated,” said museum director Cindy White. The fossil came from a private donation by Darla Roberts.
It’s just one more addition to the small museum that now serves as a learning tool for hundreds of Hall County students walking through its doors on an annual basis.
The Da Vinci middle school students tailor their displays to fit with education standards. For example, the exhibit opening in January is titled “Against All Odds,” inviting the students to look at a variety of ways people overcome challenges.
For example, one portion of the museum will focus on exhibits featuring people with physical disabilities.
Another science-based portion will focus on weather and emergency response during catastrophic events.
Social studies teacher Kelly Schollaert explained that students break into small groups to create their exhibits. For the most part, they pick their own topics based on what they’re most interested in.
“This is their opportunity to really go above and beyond,” she said.
“They do authentic, deep research and then they have to do high-level, critical thinking and interpret that research into these exhibits.
“One of my favorite parts is that these kids, when they start building their exhibit, we make them look into what standards in K through 5 their topic reaches so that they’re sure to include that into their components for their exhibits.”
In fact, each exhibit must fit some way with the Georgia Performance Standards, which is the state’s outline for what students are taught.
Schollaert said elementary school teachers look for activities that incorporate standards and fit into the curriculum before planning a field trip.
“So once (students are) planning their exhibit, we’ll just make sure something in there hits upon that standard,” Schollaert explained.
“Against All Odds” opens Jan. 27. White plans to host a community open house around that same time period as an official unveiling of the Triceratops fossil.
“We don’t have anything (in the area) like (the museum),” White said.
“It’s just another really great place, and plus the neat thing about it is it’s done by kids.”
To make a reservation, email Cindy White at email@example.com.