The Waldron Shale Project

The Waldron Shale Project

The purpose of the Waldron Shale Project is to provide teachers with the training and materials to implement a hands-on paleontological activity where students can learn about earth science, the fossil record, and scientific methodology using actual fossils.

Science education benefits from hands-on inquiry-based learning. Paleontology is an ideal discipline for implementing this kind of instruction within the K-12 classroom, as biology, earth science, reading, art, and math can be easily integrated into lessons about the fossil record. Additionally, paleontology has a way of nearly universally capturing the imagination of children, providing a launching point for getting young people excited about science. The states of Kentucky and Indiana have exceptional paleontological resources. It follows that paleontology should be featured in the science curriculum here, as many students are finding or observing fossils in their backyards or public parks.

Teachers interested in participating in the project can submit an application to reserve their spot in the next professional development workshop. The next workshop will take place in June of 2022 on the campus of Bellarmine University.

Potential Learning Activities:

We expect that the participating teachers will use the materials provided to them to implement lesson plans whereby students will learn about earth science, evolution, and the scientific method through an engaging, flexible, and creative experience. These could include activities such as:

  • Identify and classify fossils using project templates and online resources
  • Create scale drawings of specimens and label the anatomy
  • Calculate and interpret paleoecological data like frequency of occurrence and body size
  • Create and curate a classroom or digital museum
  • Compare class data with other participating schools
  • Write a report exploring an aspect of paleontology (lower and middle grades) or following the format of a professional paper (upper grades)

Waldron Learning Activities

Contact Information:

Dr. Kate Bulinski, Associate Professor of Geoscience at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky and Mr. Alan Goldstein, Interpretive Naturalist at The Falls of the Ohio State Park in Clarksville, Indiana have been collaborating for over a decade offering paleontological educational programs for K-12 teachers. The Waldron Shale Project is their most recent effort.

For More Information about this project contact:
Dr. Katherine Bulinski ( or Mr. Alan Goldstein (


This project received funding and support from the Kentucky Academy of Science Athey Science Education and Outreach Grant.

Logistically, this project involves the sourcing and delivery of fossil-bearing shale which is provided through a special arrangement with a quarrying company, Irving Materials Inc., which provides us with fossiliferous material and lidded buckets for our participating teachers at no cost.

Additional logistical support provided by The Falls of the Ohio State Park and the Bellarmine University Department of Environmental Studies.

Waldron Shale Project Sponsors