by Melanie Mackey
A rare chance at hands-on learning was experienced by William Penn Science Club members on the morning of Sunday, Nov. 18, at the dig site of the Mahaska County mammoths.
“It was a once in a lifetime opportunity,” Science Club president Heather Mackey said. “I’m so glad the Science Club members got to help out”
Dr. James North, a William Penn science professor who has been involved with the mammoth discovery and leading most of the digs, also serves as advisor of the Science Club and got the students their opportunity to dig up some bones.
Science Club members including Jason Mozley, Leslie Hernandez, Kahala Kaouili, and Leyra Jujine helped plaster the tusk that was discovered at a recent dig. The students quickly found that the deeper they dug, the more bones they found.
“I went to the mammoth dig because it sounded really interesting and it would be an awesome experience,” freshman club member Leyra Jusina Suarez said. “I haven’t done anything like that before and seeing something from so far back into history is just so cool.”
“The best part was while we were trying to uncover the tusk,” freshman Kaowili said. “As the day progressed, we found more and more bones that we were not even looking for at the time.”
Mackey said they discovered many bones underneath the newly plastered tusk as it was uncovered. However, as winter approaches, most of these new discoveries will have to wait until the snow and ice clears in the spring to be unearthed.
“Although it was really cold, I really enjoyed being there and being a part of it,” Suarez said.
WPU’s Science Club is made up of students from all majors and focuses on hands-on activities–such as the mammoth dig–to get students involved and interested. The club hopes to visit local elementary schools to show the discovered bones to young students.
“I joined Science Club because I love science and the different wonders that come with it,” Kaowili said. “My old school never had a Science Club, so I decided to try this out.”
“I loved the mammoth dig,” Mackey said. “I hope all the new Science Club members enjoyed it and I look forward to everything we do for the rest of the year.”