This story appeared in our local paper this morning, and I thought it was worth highlighting. It tells the story of a 5th grader who noticed that a display at the Smithsonian identified the Pre-Cambrian as an “era.” He knew this was wrong; the term “era” has a specific use in geologic time, and according to standard time scales the Pre-Cambrian does not qualify. The Cenozoic, Mesozoic, and Paleozoic are eras, the Pre-Cambrian is not. Anyways, many geoscience education posts, especially those dealing with the state of geoscience education in America today, are usually negative or at the very best worrisome. This is good!
And, the fact that there is a 5th grade teacher somewhere that gives proper lessons on geologic time made my day. I doubt I knew anything about geologic time back then. In 5th grade I was an expert on the Chicago Cubs and the 1985 Bears. If the Smithsonian had incorrectly labeled the Cubs 2nd baseman as Ryan Sandberg (instead of) Ryne Sandberg, well hell, I would also have filled out a comment card and made the AP wire. I probably also would have complained about the snack bar…..and so ends the window into 10 year old thermochronic.