About Us

For information about different types of turtle, click on this sentence or on the “About turtles” image at the bottom of this page.

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Teacher Turtles began with Mark Eastburn, a science laboratory teacher, and his students at Riverside Elementary School in the spring of 2015. Children’s questions had centered on the captive box turtle population within the Riverside School courtyard for many years, among them “How many turtles are there?” “How did they get here?” and “Who are the parents of the baby turtles?”

Nobody had any answers…

Mark Eastburn with Green Fruit Loop, another reptilian friend.

These questions prompted Mark to apply for funding from the Princeton Education Foundation for a project titled, “Understanding Genetics Through Turtles,” and he was awarded a $1200 grant in December, 2014. With this initial funding, and the support of faculty at nearby Princeton University, Mark was able to guide students in grades K through 5 through the process of implementing an initial population study of 38 turtles in Riverside’s courtyard, as well as helping them analyze the data through a series of engaging “games.” This project has grown with the discovery of 11 new hatchling turtles in the fall of 2015, plus three clutches of eggs in 2016, and contacts that we are establishing in other schools, states, and countries. This website builds on children’s innate curiosity about the natural world to develop a meaningful understanding of important topics covered in the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). For more information on these standards, click on the turtle picture below.

This year, it might be more like two handfuls of babies!
New baby turtles are found each year, so click on them to learn more about NGSS!

Do you have a community of turtles near you? Do you have other animal projects in mind? If you’d like to collaborate, please feel free to contact Mark Eastburn at memarkeastburn@gmail.com. We look forward to hearing from you!