June 11, 2014

It's a new holiday! Burke Education makes one kid's dream come true

When 6-year old John, of Friday Harbor, Washington, was asked make up his own holiday, he let his imagination run wild—prehistoric wild.

Image excerpt courtesy of Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc.

John had entered a national art and writing contest run by the publishing company Scholastic. The competition was open to students in PreK through grade 6 with winners chosen based on their originality, clarity and delivery. For his entry, John won the grand prize for the PreK to grade 1 category.

The Burke got involved in John's vision when someone from Scholastic called looking for an organization that could make John's vision a reality at his school, Stillpoint, in Friday Harbor. Of course, the Burke puts on an annual Dino Day event in Seattle each year, but John had never visited the museum and he lived over 3 hours away. What to do?

Fortunately, the Burke also has ways to bring museum specimens and educators to people throughout Washington state. BurkeMobile, the museum's education traveling program, seemed the perfect way to make John's Dinosaur Day holiday a reality.

"We've done lessons and programs in schools across the state, but we've never helped anyone celebrate a holiday!" shares AnnaMaria, BurkeMobile Manager. "From the moment Scholastic contacted us, the Education department was buzzing with excitement about what Dinosaur Day might bring. There was no way I was going to miss this opportunity for a day filled with dinosaurs, fossil and other prehistoric life!"

AnnaMaria got busy designing Dinosaur Day for John's school with help from John's teacher, while a local bakery also got busy designing the cake John had envisioned for the big day.

How to Properly Celebrate Dinosaur Day

Before John knew it, Dinosaur Day had arrived! Scholastic provided ample decorations of all things dinosaur, the cake arrived from the bakery, and AnnaMaria and another Burke educator drove up from Seattle to Stillpoint School.

Here are a few holiday highlights:

BurkeMobile arrives to be greeted by an official Dinosaur Day sign,
which the BurkeMobile Manager was happy to show off!

John, the brains behind Dinosaur Day, investigates a
stegosaurus tail spike from the Burke's collections.

As if holding a T. rex tooth weren't enough, these girls were wowed by the tooth
of a Megalodon, an extremely large shark that lived around 28 million years ago.

Everyone was eager to do a little work—even though it was a holiday.

Success! One of the students proudly displays the
piece of fossilized coral that he uncovered in the dig pit.

It's not every day you get to hold something that came from a dinosaur!
This cast (an exact replica of a real fossil) is from a plant-eating
duckbilled dinosaur that lived about 75 million years ago.

Of course, no holiday is complete without some delicious food! Fortunately, John had already thought of that—and a local bakery made his vision a reality.

Image on right courtesy of Scholastic Book Clubs, Inc.

It may be too soon to say if Dinosaur Day will become an annual holiday or not, but it is safe to say that it's one holiday the students and teachers at Stillpoint won't forget!

Discovering the World Around Us

The Education Division at the Burke is always excited for new opportunities to connect Washington state learners with amazing specimens, objects and artifacts that can help us all learn more about the world we live in.

From offsite programs (BurkeMobile) and teaching kits (Burke Boxes) to onsite discovery-based tours and summer camps, there are plenty of ways to create an engaging learning experience for your group.

To find out more, explore the Education portion of our website or contact Burke Education at burked@uw.edu or 206-543-5591.

By Andrea Michelbach, Communications