Annual Events

Dinosaurs & Disasters

2021 Going Virtual

We are excited to host Dinosaurs and Disasters in partnership with the UNL Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. Most events are free. A few will have a small fee to participate, but are indicated with a "Paid Program" in the description. For events held via Facebook Live, just join us on our Facebook page that day to follow along. Events held via Zoom will have a registration link shared in the description if you'd prefer to connect that way. 


The following events have been scheduled as part of 2021's virtual Dinosaurs & Disasters. A few more events are pending and will be added soon!

Tuesday, February 2 at 11:00am - What's beneath your feet?
At-home activity sheet (PDF download)
This fun activity teaches about rocks and even lets you learn how to make some different rocks of your own at home. 

Thursday, February 4 at 4:00 pm - Tully Monster
Watch again here

This bizarre creature lived in the seas that covered Illinois long before the Age of Dinosaurs. It is unlike anything else known in the fossil record. 

Friday, February 5  at 11:00am - Waves and Tornadoes: Relating Sound to Severe Storms
At-Home activity sheets (PDF download)
Participants will learn about how infrasound, or sound below human hearing, may be able to assist with the detection of tornadoes. They will learn some basic radar interpretation that they can apply to severe storms. 

Monday, February 8 at 12:00 pm - Earthquakes
At-Home activity sheet (PDF download)
Learn more about earthquakes and seismology with these at-home activity pages. 

Tuesday, February 9 at 4:00pm - Moving Mountains
Watch again here
At-Home activity sheet (PDF download)
Learn how mountains are formed in this video demonstration using colored sugar and simple kitchen items. Then try the activity at home. 

Thursday, February 11 at 4:00pm - Diatoms: Tiny Algae Made of Glass
Watch again here
At-home activity sheets (PDF)

Learn about diatoms, how to identify them, and what they tell us about lake depth. 

Saturday, February 13 at 10:00am - Investigate Saturday Science Lab (2 part program)
Activities and demos hosted via Zoom (Register here: $9/member, $11/nonmember)
Hands-on kit included (pick up from Morrill Hall gift shop)

Have you seen fossils in the Museum? A paleontologist had to excavate, clean, and stabilize those fossils before they went on display! If you want to try being a paleontologist and wonder how long it takes to clean a fossil, join us for this virtual, hands-on experience. You will learn about fossil excavation without worrying about damaging ancient plant and animal remains. We’ll use common tools like a screwdriver to practice our paleontology preparation on “fossil” pottery. Participants will remove matrix surrounding a pottery “fossil” and reassemble the pieces. Museum paleontologist Shane Tucker will host two Zoom sessions to explain the preparation process, demonstrate techniques, provide guidance, and answer questions.

Sunday, February 14 from 12:30-4:30pm - Visible Lab Fossils
Visit the Visible Lab on the fourth floor of Morrill Hall to watch UNSM Chief Preparator Carrier Herbel work on actual fossils.

Sunday, February 14 from 12:30-4:30pm - Rocks Rock!
Video on Facebook and the Morrill Hall Science Exploration Zone
Learn about rocks and volcanoes and see actual rock examples in the Morrill Hall Science Exploration Zone. 

Wednesday, February 17 at 9:00am - Weathering the Storm
Video Presentation and Google slides activity
This web-based activity will explore some common facts and myths about severe weather safety, including tornadoes, lightning, hail and flash floods. 

Wednesday, February 17 at 3:00pm - Fossils
Watch it again
Join UNSM paleontologist Jeremy McMullin live from the Morrill Hall Visible Lab to learn about making your own fossil replicas at home. 

Thursday, February 18 at 4:00pm - Petrified Seafood
Watch it again
Clams, oysters, calamari and may more delicacies were on the menu in Nebraska 70 million years ago. Get a close-up view of these ancient sea creatures that have literally turned into stone. 

Saturday, February 20 at 10:00am - Investigate Saturday Science Lab (continued from Feb. 13)
Activities and demos hosted via Zoom (link shared after registration for program)
Part 2 of the February Investigate: Museum paleontologist Shane Tucker hosts a second zoom session to continue explaining the process of preparing fossils, demonstrating techniques and providing guidance as participants excavate and prepare "fossil" pottery from a provided kit. 

Monday, February 22 at 11:00am - Welcome to Data Underground (#1 in series on data & programming)
Watch again here
Have you heard of scientists using computer models to study the real world? How are these models built? Learn how computer programming helps scientists build models and why models are like games. 

Tuesday, February 23 at 4:00pm - Coding a Game with Python (#2 in series on data & programming)
Watch again here
Learn how to build a simple game with a computer language called Python. You will see what computer code looks like and how changing the code can change the game. Access the Python mentioned in video demo here

Wednesday, February 24 at 11:00am - Learn Programming with Scratch (#3 in series on data & programming)
Watch again here
Programming is fun! You can get started with an animation-based programming language called Scratch. This video gives a quick introduction to Scratch. 

Thursday, February 25 at 11:00am - Groundwater Model in Action (#4 in series on data & programming)
Watch again here
Models are used to bring together many sources of data to get a better picture of the real world. Take a look at a real scientific model coded in the Python programming language and how this model is being used to understand changes in groundwater in Nebraska. 

Friday, February 26 at 11:00am - Weather from Home
Video demo via Facebook with at-home activity sheets: Lightning Fog Fronts

Sunday, February 28 at 2:00 pm - Sunday With a Scientist - Where on Earth am I?
Activities and demos via Facebook Live or register for Zoom
Take a virtual walk through space and time using Google Earth with Dr. David Harwood. See the world like a geologist as you tour Nebraska, a sandy desert, the South Pole and even travel through time. We recommend participants download the free Google Earth app in advance and have a place they want to suggest or explore.