Born to Explore and Skype in the Classroom Bring Fossils to Life for Students


For students of all ages, dinosaurs have always held a special appeal. Most of us can recall a time when we may have visualized a massive T-Rex amidst our hometown landscape, or carefully examined a dinosaur skeleton in our science textbooks. This weekend, we can join students from Mosaic Preparatory Academy in Harlem, NY on a virtual field trip to an incredible dinosaur fossil site.

On Sunday's airing of "Born to Explore" on ABC TV (check your local listings), Tracey Wong's 5th grade class takes on the challenge of locating show host Richard Wiese during a Mystery Skype session that leads them to an active dig with specimens dating back 65 million years. "From an explorer or naturalist's standpoint, the whole technology revolution has been great for us," said Wiese. "Through the magic of technology like Skype and Bing everyone can be an explorer."

Wiese has been called a modern day Indiana Jones, and his show takes him all around the globe in search of adventure, wildlife and cultures untouched by modern civilization. It's this amazing view of the world that he's eager to share directly with the students he meets during the show, as well as the broader audience on ABC.

Microsoft and the team at "Born to Explore" collaborated to showcase how technology can help bring incredible adventures into the classroom, and inspire students to discover their own interest in exploration. Without ever leaving their classroom, these students were able to interact live with renowned paleontologist, Dr. Ken Lacovara, in the midst of a real dig at the Mantua Fossil Heritage Site in New Jersey by using Skype in the Classroom, Surface devices and Bing. The students also conducted their own investigations, and learned how to determine a Megaladon's age by measuring its tooth, and researched their own favorite dinosaurs.

"The ability to interact with students in real time via Skype in the Classroom has been so exciting," added Wiese. "We were able to turn a page in a 65 million-year-old history book and make dinosaurs come to life. The chance to be a part of the dig team is a rare opportunity."

Teachers can bring their students along on the virtual field trip, too, with Bing lesson plans that align to this Sunday's show. Find the lessons and other great resources from Microsoft. You can also learn more about planning your own Mystery Skype adventure with another classroom from around the globe…or right next door.

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