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Northglenn students search for fossils in Broomfield

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Northglenn students search for fossils in Broomfield

Northglenn High School geology teacher Kent Hups guides a group of students and other staff through fields of tall grass and wildflowers to a site where he previously discovered dinosaur fossils. In addition to being a high school teacher, Hups is a researcher with the Denver Museum of Nature and Science who has excavated fossils for decades. Hups has a Paleontology Club at Northglenn High School and he hopes to instill some wonder and passion into students by hosting field trips to get that boots-on-the-ground experience.

This specific field trip was to have students learn how to identify and collect fossils in the Broomfield area. Hups taught students about what they should be looking for in terms of color, shape, and texture and advised them to be thorough as they crawl uphill searching. Hups also taught them a trick he had learned from his numerous years of fossil hunting.

"If you're unsure about it being rock or bone, lick it," said Hups as he grazed an object with his tongue. "If it sticks to your tongue like ice, that's fossilized bone."

Students were handed plastic bags along with a set of coordinates for their section and sent to explore the area for fossils. Student spent the next several hours searching their areas and adding a collection of samples to their bags that they would be cleaning and studying at a later date. Hups made the search even sweeter by offering the first person to find any teeth remains, a paid lunch. 

The day ended with everyone leaving with several samples that were going to be studied more. After students clean and identify these samples, they would be returning them to their coordinates so as to preserve the area.

This story exemplifies our ELEVATE Focus Area: Outside-the-Classroom Learning. Sharing stories about how the district offers students multiple learning opportunities outside the traditional classroom providing various pathways to success.

  • Northglenn High School