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PA Virtual Family Digs for Fossils

PA Virtual Family Digs for FossilsWhat really happened to the dinosaurs 65 million years ago? One PA Virtual family headed to Rowan University’s Fossil Park earlier this month to find out!

Dinosaur lover and PA Virtual 7th grader Joshua Griffith and his family spent the day at the fossil park learning about the importance of this particular fossil pit and digging into layers of earth that were formed during the Jurassic period. Eventually Josh found a shark tooth, piece of turtle shell, pieces of sponges and a piece of bone. Of course, we know sharks don’t live in New Jersey, but millions of years ago, part of Southern New Jersey was a shallow sea making sea animals fairly common to find among other fossils.

Fossil Park, an extension of Rowan’s School of Earth & Environment has only been open to the public for a little over a year. Under the leadership of Dr. Kenneth Lacovara, the 65 acre quarry may hold the key to what happened during the mass extinction that eliminated the dinosaurs. Dr. Lacovara was one of the key researches in discovering what may be the largest dinosaur to ever roam the earth - the Dreadnoughtus. It took over four years to transport the remains from where they were found in in Patagonia, Argentina to Philadelphia to be studied.

PA Virtual Family Digs for FossilsA surprise for the Griffith family? Dr. Lacovara was visiting the site and they were able to meet him and discuss his famous TED Talk!

The site has welcomed hundreds of local students in hopes of uncovering fossils and other clues to the past, but dig days are limited to four days each spring and fall. The Griffith’s were part of just 75 people who were able to take part in the dig, which began with an informative presentation and a chance to work side by side with Rowan’s paleontologists.

Want to learn more about Rowan’s Fossil Park and Dr. Lacovara? Check out his recent TED Talk about hunting for dinosaurs!

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Posted on: December 14, 2016 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

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Three Ways to Keep Your Child Engaged During the Holiday Season

Fireplace reading

In the cyber setting, we know our Learning Coaches go above and beyond each day to be a part of their child’s educational journey. A PA Virtual, we know that when parents are engaged and supportive of what their child is learning, the child is more likely to succeed.  However, the hustle and bustle of the holiday season is enough to distract even the most attentive family. How can you keep students focused as the holidays approach this year?

  1. Spruce up your learning workstation! With the holidays approaching, it is a time when many decorate their homes inside and out. But what will you do with your child’s workspace? By now, your child has decided what their favorite space for school is in the home, but how can you organize or restructure that to give them a more conducive learning environment?
    • Organize an end of semester clean out to declutter papers that have piled up since September
    • Hang twinkle lights to brighten up their personal space
    • Keep an extra pillow or blanket handy and create a cozy reading space as the temperatures drop 
  2. Traveling? The beauty of cyber education is that students can take their virtual classroom anywhere. If you find yourself traveling this holiday season while classes are still in session, you can take the opportunity to share with your extended family some of the benefits of cyber education! However, to ensure student success while traveling do your best to:
    • Secure a strong wifi connection
    • Make sure you know of all upcoming deadlines
    • Even in a house full of family or a hotel - try and find a designated space for school with as few distractions as possible 
  3. Get out of the house! PA Virtual offers socialization events year round for our students in various regions, but during the winter months, we start to see the same faces over and over. These outings, sponsored by our Family Support Coordinators are a fun way to meet new people and sometimes even give back to the community. For a full list of upcoming events in December and January make sure to check out our FSC /Outing Information Main Page. Here you will also find:
    • Helpful parent resources
    • Family Support Coordinator contact information
    • Information on PA Virtual College Tours

Don’t let your holiday spirit make you lose focus! Parents, what do you do to stay active and engaged in your child’s learning experience during the hectic holiday season?

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Posted on: December 05, 2016 by Jennifer Kilpatrick in

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