Daniel Marlowe will have an interesting answer when students and fellow teachers ask what he did over the summer. The UW Tacoma alumnus (2012 B.S. Environmental Science, 2014 Master of Education) spent four days in Montana digging up dinosaur bones.
Marlowe teaches physics and biology at Wilson High School in Tacoma. His expedition to the fossil beds of the Hell Creek Formation came courtesy of the DIG Field School. The program, offered through the University of Washington’s Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, allows educators in grades K-12 to work with UW paleontologists in the field.
The experience is something Marlowe plans to use in the classroom. “The museum has these educational kits they ship to teachers with different lessons plans that cover a range of science topics,” he said.
Beyond professional development, Marlowe says the trip was great in a different way. “It was sort of like a childhood dream come true. Every little kid digs holes in their backyard hoping to find dinosaur bones.”
An Army veteran and former scuba dive instructor, Marlowe says he prefers a more hands-on approach, which he got with the Field School. “The instructors were very focused on us learning the skills that paleontologists need. It was very much, 'here’s what we do, now go do it.'”
Marlowe visited a different dig site each day. At one point he got to do some excavation work on what appears to be a mostly intact T-Rex skull — one of only fifteen known to exist. The part of the skull that Marlowe helped with is now at the Burke Museum. “It’s cool to know that something I worked on is going to be on display in a museum,” he said.
In an interesting twist, Marlowe says he didn’t care for high school. “I had a few bad experiences with one teacher in particular and I didn’t want that to happen to anyone else.” His decision to become a teacher and his interest in the Field School are part of a larger educational philosophy. “I want to show real life application to make it relevant to my students.”
John Burkhardt, UW Tacoma Communications, 253-692-4536 or firstname.lastname@example.org