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Museum of Natural History in Pocatello offering special learning activities

Science & Technology

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POCATELLO — The Idaho Museum of Natural History, on the Idaho State University campus, will be hosting special family-friendly activities during the week leading up to Thanksgiving Day.

“The activities are designed to provide students additional learning opportunities during the Thanksgiving break when school is out,” said Robert Gay, the museum’s education coordinator. “It also allows us to dive deep into some of the topics that we’ve been touching on in our afterschool outreach in a more in-depth, hands-on manner.

The activities begin Friday, Nov. 19, with a “mammoth murder mystery.”

Students, of recommended ages fifth through ninth grade, will be able to use forensic clues and fossil data to determine the cause of death and disappearance of the mammoths that once roamed the area now known as southeastern Idaho.

This mystery exploration begins at 10 a.m., and runs through 3 p.m. Registration for the event is required — a registration form can found here — and includes a snack but not a lunch.

Gay said funding for such activities and others, including events like the Fall Fossil Fest in October, comes from admission to the events — attendance to this event costs $25 per non-museum member and $20 per member — though the museum is always searching for outside funding.

On Friday, Nov. 19, and Tuesday, Nov. 23, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., students can create a natural history print using the museum’s 3D printer. Students attending this event do not need to register.

The final event, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday, Nov. 22, provides students, of recommended ages between fourth and eighth grades, lessons in reading tracks and traces. Students will learn what different messages are conveyed by the traces and tracks of animals, both modern and ancient. Like the mammoth murder mystery, registration is required — and can be found here. Students will be provided a snack at this event as well, while bringing a lunch is recommended for all attending.

“The activities are aligned with not just the instruction we’ve been providing to (Pocatello/Chubbuck School District 25) students, but also match up with the IMNH’s collections and core mission – to be Idaho’s official natural history museum,” Gay said. “By allowing students to get closer access to the objects the IMNH cares for, it allows for greater ties between us and the community we serve.”

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