Dr Alice Clement worked with the Year 4/5, Year 5’s and 5/6 class this week.  She was also awarded the Tall Poppy Scientist 2020 award for her research in Palaeontology.  Alice shared her love of animals which led to her studies and future career. She now leads the research component of early vertebrate brain evolution (palaeoneurology) at Flinders University.  The students had to draw upon their prior knowledge and detective skills to identify Alice’s fossils.  They asked some very interesting questions linked to the fossils and her studies.  Here are some of the student’s reflections about their STEAM experience:

The most amazing thing ever that has happened that we got to go to! I love rocks and fossils so I enjoyed it so much! There were bones about 2 metres length and some so small that they could fir in your hand!  I learnt so much about how to tell what you need to look for when you are looking at a bone and how to tell which animal it is and if you do find a new species you get to name it.  Dr Alice taught me a lot about fossils and because I want to be a palaeontologist when I grow up I would like to know as much about fossils as I can and Dr Alice told me everything! I didn’t know a lot about fossils and I think that it is great that people like Dr Alice come around to schools to show what you can do when you are an adult because some people might not have even known that you can be a palaeontologist.  I loved how there were fossils to look at and to try and work out what animal they came from.  It was also interesting to see how many kinds of fossils there are because some people might just think that there are just dinosaur fossils.  I also didn’t know how fossils were made and how much weight there is on a fossil underground ( I would definitely have been squished to pieces).  Dr Alice has make me more eager to be a palaeontologist and I would like her to come to Woodend again.

– Zoe E

Dr Alice, a former Fossil Hunter visited us today.  She is a palaeontologist.  She looks for fish fossils. She presented us with a slide show FULL of surprises. After the slide show she brought a few fossils for us to look at.  We had to guess what fossils we were looking at.  Some of us were right surprisingly! Some of the fossils were from extinct animals but some of the fossils were from animals that were STILL alive! The most INTERESTING and WEIRDEST thing that Dr Alice said that could be fossilised was poo of animals that lived a long time ago. She also said that an asteroid isn’t the only way that a species can go extinct. Sometimes 2 animals could be mid fight in a sandy place and then a sand dune collapses on top of then and stops them mid fight and keeps them stored until someone comes along and finds them.

After she explained lots of EXCITING stuff about the fossils she took lots of questions from everyone.  She explained that if you found a fossil that no one had seen before the animal could be named after you.

Dr Alice has made me more passionate about the past and palaeontology.  I would love for her to come to Woodend again and do different year levels.

– Georgia T

Today Dr Alice talked to us about fossils and she explained that when an animal dies, mud falls on top of it and it eventually turns into a fossil.  I really enjoyed it and found it interesting and I learned a lot about the way fossils form.

– Taya