A Visit to The STRI Arch Lab

lab visit
Teachers from FL, NM, and CA visit Dr. Richard Cooke Photo by Megan Higbee

Today was a truly unforgettable experience for me as a science teacher. Bruce took us to NAOS to talk with Richard Cooke, STRI’s resident archeologist for the past 40 years. Dr. Cooke spoke to us about his work in Panama and shared some of his discoveries with us. It struck me while I was listening to him speak that I was in a room with four remarkable scientists and a group of the most inspired educators that I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with. Dr. Cooke graciously welcomed us into his lab and shared his research as if we were colleagues he had known for years. His enthusiasm for his work and dedication to continual learning was inspiring. As an educator of middle school students one of the most important aspects of my job is to get my students excited about science. Having experiences like I had today allows me to share anecdotes with my students that I otherwise would not know. While Dr. Cooke was sharing his stories, I could see the genuine interest Bruce (Dr. Bruce MacFadden, paleontologist, Florida Museum of Natural History), Gary (Dr. Gary Morgan, paleontologist, New Mexico Museum of Natural History), George (Dr. George Angher, ornithologist, director of exhibitions at BioMuseo) and the other teachers had in learning as much as they could from him. Excitement is contagious, and after sharing only a few pictures with my students during the course of this trip, I can sense their anticipation for the upcoming year growing. In the five days we have shared in Panama, we have learned together and become inspired to return to our classrooms and turn our ideas into actions.


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