Moffat County Christian Academy hosts Field Museum’s traveling trunk for students |

Moffat County Christian Academy hosts Field Museum’s traveling trunk for students

Moffat County Christian Academy hosted an event this week in partnership with the Northwest Colorado Field Museum to facilitate hands-on learning with students. The academy also opened its doors for an open house to spread awareness about the school for local families who may be interested in enrolling. 

The academy hosted a traveling trunk presentation from the Northwest Colorado Field Museum on Thursday, Feb. 9, where students got to learn more about paleontology concepts and about Walter, the locally discovered and nationally studied dinosaur. 

Sue Mock, manager of the Field Museum at Colorado Northwestern Community College, and museum volunteer Nora Williams brought the traveling trunk to the school with a lecture-style presentation followed by several hands-on stations the students got to explore as a group. 

The traveling trunk was created so the Field Museum could bring information and findings about the CNCC paleontology studies out into the communities across the Yampa Valley. Thursday was the third traveling trunk event since the program’s launch. 

“The word is definitely getting out about the traveling trunk,” Williams said.

At one of the stations, students got to explore comparative anatomy by looking at Walter’s massive tibia bone alongside a rabbit bone and a cast of a human tibia bone. Another station included different kinds of animal teeth compared with dinosaur teeth, and students got to explore how the shape and size of the teeth relate to the animals’ diets. 

The trunk brought fossils of different plants and other organic matter to show students how these materials are fossilized. Mock provided diagrams of the stratigraphy of Walter’s bones as well as a map of where his bones have so far been discovered. 

Mock said that traveling trunk presentations can be customized for different interests and groups. The Moffat County Christian Academy event hosted students from kindergarten to seventh grade.

“We have so much to share,” Williams said. “There is always new stuff.” 

The traveling trunk was a part of the academy’s shared school, a part of the school’s programming that has previously hosted a visit from a Memorial Regional Health ambulance for students to learn more about local emergency medical services. 

“This is a bonus when we get someone from the community to come in,” said Dale Peterson, principal of Moffat County Christian Academy.

The school held an open house from 5-7 p.m. on Thursday evening, where community members were invited to come and see what the academy has to offer. 

“We are doing the mixer to make our school not the best kept secret in Moffat County,” Peterson said. 

The academy currently serves 45 students from kindergarten to seventh grade with five teachers, as well as shared school teachers, and interventionists who provide additional support for students who need support with reading or math. 

Peterson explained Moffat County Christian Academy is a traditional Christian school with high academic standards, and anyone can enroll. The school utilizes curriculum from Abeka, which is the publishing arm of the Penisola Christian Academy, Peterson explained. 

“The number one objective in the school is to lay the foundation for students to choose a personal relationship with Jesus,” Peterson said. “We don’t push religion, we encourage building relationships.” 

The school also prioritizes a biblical worldview, which Peterson said he feels the country has gotten away from. The classroom studies also help students to be the best readers, and excel in math. 

The academy has other spring events coming up, including one in March for Dr. Suess Day, which will focus on the book “Green Eggs and Ham.” Peterson said the Moffat County Library helped to partner with the school on the event. In April, academy students will travel to Denver to explore the Denver Zoo and Aquarium. 

According to Peterson, the Moffat County School District is helping to support the school’s efforts by providing a bus for the trip to Denver, as well as providing computers and access to art supplies and cooking supplies for other shared school classes.

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