Roma ISD students work together to unveil a fossil. Photo by: Ramon Perez
Written by: Jaden X. De Leon
Roma, Texas – Dinosaurs, the colossal creatures that once roamed the Earth for over 180 million years, have always captured the imaginations of young and old alike. Groups of young scientists from R.T. Barrera, Emma Vera, and Veterans Elementary Schools in Roma ISD embarked on a thrilling journey to unravel the mysteries of Earth's history and the extinction of dinosaurs. This Roma ISD Dinosaur World CAMP initiative was implemented in partnership with the College 1st Program, which not only ignited the student’s passion for science but also set them on a path toward exciting educational experiences filled with boundless career possibilities.
"My day was exciting and nice. I learned about dinosaurs, and it was so much fun! This CAMP is awesome!” Itzayana Ramirez, a student at R.T. Barrera Elementary School, shared “It’s teaching me about the future and what I can do in my life." concluded Ramirez.
Emma Vera Elementary students stare in awe as they simulate the dinosaurs in their natural ecosystem.
Photo by: Ramon Perez
Roma ISD's visionary approach to education has sown the seeds for future Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) Professionals. The Dinosaur World CAMP transported students back in time, immersing them in the captivating world of these prehistoric giants. They embarked on a quest to uncover the secrets of dinosaurs,
exploring the evidence behind the end of the dinosaur era, including the colossal asteroid impact that occurred around 66 million years ago and played a pivotal role in shaping the Planet Earth we have today.
According to National Geographic, the leading theory suggests that a massive asteroid or comet struck the Earth, triggering widespread devastation. The theory suggests that when the asteroid hit at a high velocity and then vaporized, it left that immediate area in complete devastation which included tsunamis that engulfed coastlines and firestorms that may have raged all over the globe. In addition to that, the huge blast and heat wave threw material and debris rich in sulfur up into the atmosphere, and while it did not completely block out the sun, it did just enough to harm plant growth and acidify the oceans. The animals that were not fully affected by the immediate impact were then affected by the way that the food chains were impacted which then resulted in the collapse of many ecosystems. All of this then resulted in the extinction of most dinosaurs. This theory, which was named the Alvarez Hypothesis after Luis and Walter Alvarez, gained more credibility when the 93-mile-wide Chicxulub crater was found on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula and linked to the extinction event.
Roma ISD Veterans Memorial Elementary students showcase their theories on what the dinosaurs were doing on the day the meteor hit. Photo by: Ramon Perez
"My experience today was great!” Oziel Perez, a student at Veteran’s Memorial Elementary School, shared. “I learned about dinosaurs and their history, I learned about how dinosaurs went extinct and about the science and research behind it.” Perez concluded.
Even though this event happened 66 million years ago, there is still lots of ongoing research to paint an accurate picture of what happened on that fateful day. Now, some research published in the journal of Geology, shows that tiny white specks along the Texas Brazos River called lapilli, gives scientists more clues as to what happened that day. These clues include a size of the zone of devastation that reached over a thousand miles from the crater’s center and the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere that led to a period of global warming that lasted 100,000 years.
The Brazos River is a spot of interest to paleontologists not only due to the lapilli, but because due to the recent drought that has occurred since June of 2023, more evidence that Dinosaurs once walked here in Texas has popped up. According to CNN, the Paluxy River, a tributary of the river Brazos, has revealed ancient dinosaur tracks that are roughly 113 million years old.
The CAMP instructors facilitated hands-on activities for students to understand the incredible evolution of dinosaurs, from small, bipedal creatures to the mightiest carnivore to ever walk the Earth—the Tyrannosaurus Rex. Equipped with magnifying glasses and tools, these young explorers carefully unearthed fossils trapped on a piece of sedimentary rock and pieced together their dinosaur bones to see the remains of the magnificent creatures, gaining valuable firsthand experience in the field of paleontology.
The CAMP's significance extended far beyond fossil hunting and dinosaur facts. It aimed to spark a passion for discovery and science within the students. It was about inspiring them to become lifelong learners and explorers of our planet's history.
Roma ISD Veterans Memorial Elementary students reenact the days of the dinosaurs as they compete to see who was the most ferocious predator. Photo by: Ramon Perez
The experience provided insights into the shifting continents of Earth's past, illustrating how the supercontinent Pangaea, a landmass made up of all the Earth’s continents, once shaped the face of our planet. Understanding how these continents moved and shifted over 200 million years played a vital role in forming the landscapes and environments that influenced dinosaur evolution, forcing the species of the time to adapt to new climates and areas. According to National Geographic, the leading scientists believe that several supercontinents like Pangea have formed and broken up over the course of Earth’s lifespan thanks to the research of Alfred Wegener, the geologist and paleontologist behind the Continental Drift theory.
Ultimately, the Dinosaur World CAMP wasn't just about learning facts; it was about igniting a passion for discovery, science, and Earth's history. It aimed to set these young students on a path towards exciting educational journeys, fostering their curiosity and love for learning.
As these students return to their classrooms, they carry with them the inspiration and knowledge gained from their prehistoric adventure. Many are now considering careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The CAMP has not only ignited their curiosity but also inspired future scientists and researchers.
"These camps are amazing for my future because they show you what type of colleges there is and what type of things you can learn in college and it’s very inspiring for me” Said Sofia Muniz, an Emma Vera Elementary student. “Thank you Roma ISD for inspiring me to continue finding my dreams” Concluded Muniz
For more information about Roma ISD, please call them at 956-849-1377 or visit their website at https://www.romaisd.com. College 1st is a joint initiative implemented in partnership with visionary leaders from school districts, education service centers and post-secondary institutions across the State of Texas to empower students for college, career and life success. For more details about the program, please visit our website at www.College1st.org or call us at 1-877-499-8544.