The fifth grade hallway at Plainview Intermediate is no stranger to elaborate themes and activities, but the teachers took it to the next level with a day of Jurassic Park-themed learning on Thursday.  
The event was part of Rock Your School, a national one-day event where teachers were encouraged to create outside-the-box, engaging lessons for their students. The idea came from fifth grade teacher Susan Perkins.  
“The theme of Rock Your School is just to kind of step out of your box and Jurassic World just came out, so we thought this would be highly engaging,” Perkins said. “After that conference, I wrote a Donors Choose project and got it funded by people in the community.”
Perkins attended a conference with Get Your Teach On, a program that focuses on teachers from Kindergarten through sixth grade. She said the experience inspired her to get the whole school involved with Rock Your School.
“They did a lot of this kind of thing,” Perkins said. “We were like the students, and they showed us what “high interest” would look like. Instead of preaching to us about what we should do, they showed us what it should look like. It really recaptures your love for teaching and you want to bring it back to your students.”
In her classroom, kids donned gloves and dug through “dinosaur poop” (brownie mix with marshmallows) to figure out what was making the triceratops sick in the first Jurassic Park film. The culprit, of course, was the poorly-constructed sentences on laminated paper that the dinosaur had eaten.
“They have to find the bad sentences and correct them to make sure it doesn’t happen again,” Perkins said.  “They’re grossed out, but they love it.”
Fifth grade science teacher Kelley Simmons turned her classroom into an excavation site to teach the students about paleontology. Kids erupted in protest when they learned that Mr. Bones, the classroom skeleton, had lost his buddy, a skeletal model of a T-Rex. The students had to dig up and reassemble the dinosaur piece by piece.   
“We’re talking a little bit about fossils, but also about what paleontologists do,” Simmons said. “We all came up with different activities.”
Fourth graders in a computer science class Skyped with children’s author Sarah Aronson, who writes the Wishlist series. The interview was the first of its kind for the students.
“It’s about a fairy godmother in training,” fourth grade teacher Brittani Martinez said. “We looked at her biography and came up with some questions. They were pretty comfortable with it, which was awesome.”
Fifth grade reading teacher Jesica Gillam created a matching game that let students match the names of different dinosaurs to their description.  
“Some of you may already be dinosaur experts,” Gillam said to her class, “I’m not, so I need to look at their traits. How many legs do they have? What’s the height? Do they have claws? Do they have wings?”  
Fifth grade math teacher Mika Roskam led students through a measuring activity, letting students figure out how large different kinds of dinosaurs were before letting them draw them out with sidewalk chalk.
“I talked my teammates into getting involved and they were troopers,” Perkins said.