Home School Years

Proverbs 22:6 – Train up a child in the way he should go, even when he is old, he will not depart from it.

Prehistoric Fossil Bed

For our first Third Grade field trip, we drove to Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana. The park features a mostly exposed prehistoric fossil bed area with vast numbers of remnants from corals, sponges, mollusks, echinoderms and other sea creatures that thrived in the shallow tropical sea that covered the area about 387 million years ago (Devonian Time Period). This was a great field trip to follow our lessons on: Earth’s prehistoric timeline, three types of rock found on Earth, types of sea and land life that existed during that time, and paleontology. We brought our own modeling clay to make copies of fossils since they are protected and cannot be removed from the conservation area. We also studied tree trunks, earth layers and native plants and rocks. In addition, my son was asked to identify natural and unnatural elements in our surroundings. Lastly, we learned about the woolly mammoths that roamed the area in prehistoric time, as well as about the town’s history, which is linked to the Lewis & Clark expedition. It was a worthwhile trip with unique, educational hands-on experience. I recommend it to anyone near the Ohio River. These are some highlights:

Standing on part of the exposed fossilized bed with the Ohio River in the background.

Standing on part of the exposed upper fossilized bed with the Ohio River in the background. Just beyond the tree is the lower bed (ancient ocean floor).

Lower fossilized bed.

Lower fossilized bed. In essence, it can be compared to walking on an exposed or dry ocean bottom today.

Getting up close look to study exposed layers and see what clues they offer to our past.

Getting  an up close look to study exposed layers of sedimentary rock to see what clues they offer from the past.

Close up of fossilized remnants of prehistoric sea life.

Close up of fossilized remnants of prehistoric sea life from the upper fossil bed area. You can see the tops and sides (body) of crinoid stems, as well as some snails, coral, clam and brachiopod.

Making molds of fossils with modeling clay so we can take them home and study them in more detail.

Making molds of fossils with modeling clay so we can take them home and study them in more detail.

One of our fossilized clay molds.

One of our fossilized clay molds next to its original specimen.

Studying Earth's layers, rocks, fossils and plant life at a prehistoric fossil bed at the Falls of the Ohio State Park.

Taking notes of things seen and studied while at the fossilized bed area.

Statue of Lewis & Clark at the entrance offering some history of the town, which is linked to the Lewis & Clark expedition.

Statue of Lewis & Clark near the entrance. According to the town’s history, Clarksville is the first American settlement in the Western trail. The caption read: With the shake of a hand, the Lewis & Clark expedition began.

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