SharkFinder allows kids to be scientists and explore fossils in the classroom

(Source: KWES)
(Source: KWES)

ODESSA, TX (KWES) - Students at ECISD are getting the chance to be young scientists and make real fossil findings.

It's part of a program called SharkFinder, a citizen science program where students get to explore real world science projects in their own classroom.

Kids at Noell Elementary got to work with 89 million-year-old shark fossils where they could explore and make observations on shark fossils just like real scientists.

For this session at Noel, fifth graders took the reigns and taught kindergartens how to scope out and recognize the fossils.

"It's fun and they learn more," said Fifth Grader Ciara Gonzales. "They can teach the other kids they work with."

Jason Osborne, ECISD Chief Innovation Officer, has been digging up fossils as long as he could remember. He actually co-founded the Shark Finder program, where it was recognized by the White House two years ago. Now, he's bringing what he knows in the real world straight into the classroom.

"They have all these eyes analyzing things, and a lot of times scientists are focused on specific things and overlook a lot of data," said Osborne. "These kids are finding them."

After each session, the kids' data is sent to a researcher, where the researcher will determine the scientific significance of their findings and it could even be published.

"We could have kindergarten and fifth grade kids published in scientific literature," said Osborne. "These kids go back and find their findings at SMU which is really cool because now they see this tie with a university."

Even kindergarteners like Bailey Long, who is an aspiring paleontologist, this program is a small step for them. So maybe one day kids like her will have even bigger fish to fry when they grow up.

"I want to be a paleontologist,"  said Long. "I know a lot of stuff about paleontologists. You'ore finding rocks and looking for fossils."

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