(you can read the other two posts on our Science Camp 2011 here and here, and Christie’s posts here) Our third day of our Science Camp started with my sister, Suzi, going over body science. She had so much for the kids to do. In fact, the rude, pesky younger sister that I am, I ended up cutting her off before she finished because she was going long and I wanted my turn to teach. But before I interfered, she was able to get in a few really fun experiments for the kids: She had them dry their tongues off with napkins, and then eat pretzels. They couldn’t taste the salt at all. Then they took a drink of water, tried another pretzel, and suddenly their taste buds were working again.
Then she blindfolded them and had them take turns, with partners, plugging each other’s noses while eating Jelly Bellies. Christie and I tried this one, too. It was so weird. You really couldn’t taste much of anything, and then your nose would be let go and a flood of flavor would wash over you mouth. Super cool.
She had the kids study their fingerprints
And discussed how our ears work with sound waves
And more. She’s amazing. Really. And I’m sorry that I didn’t’ let her finish. But we had a big hike planned, and needed to get moving.
I was to go over native peoples from that area (Southern Utah). I used information found here, mostly. As I was putting together my lesson, it occurred to me that we had representatives from two tribes with ancient ties to that area in our little group. I mean how cool is that?! So after going over a few things, I had Suzi’s oldest [adopted] son and daughter come up. They are both Navajo, and though their particular tribe is not from that area, there were Navajos in that area briefly. And then my other niece and nephew, on my husband’s side. Their maternal grandfather is Piute. It was really cool and I think it was neat for them to represent a bit of their heritage for the other kids.
Anyway, just a fun little tidbit that I thought was super cool and unique for our group.
Then we went over rock art. I found this site really useful in preparing my lesson. We talked about the three main types of rock art, why it was used, why it’s important in studying ancient and native peoples. I had copied from my oldest’s Cub Scout manual some basic rock art symbols. Don’t tell BSA. But I had the kids paste those sheets in their notebooks and told them that we would see some of those symbols where we were going.
And then we got going to Lion’s Mouth. Lion’s Mouth is a small cave-like alcove just a few miles from our family property. Though recognized in most rock art of Southern Utah registries, it’s not well known at all and is usually completely empty. It’s also a very special place for me. I went to college not far from this area, and Lion’s Mouth was where I would go to think and be alone during that time. Anyway, I was excited to share it with the kids, though Suzi’s and mine had been there before. During our hike, I had a scavenger hunt for the kids to do, compiled mostly from this list here. Once in Lion’s Mouth, I had the kids search for some of the symbols from the BSA sheets.
And then I encouraged the kids to write their own stories using some of the symbols.
Finally, I passed out Play-Doh and told the kids to mold something that represented them, and then share it with us.
After each child told what they made, and why, I went back to what I’d learned in Art History and Ancient History classes years ago. We talked about how different artifacts, symbols, and tools tell archeologists and anthropologists important things about the people they are studying. It was fun, for me, to compare what the kids made with different things those scientists look for. I hope the kids “got it”, too. It had been getting progressively windy every day, and hour, we were in Pinto. And when we got back to our camp after Lion’s Mouth, the kids’ tent looked like this
I don’t have a “before” shot. But it really didn’t look much like this in shape prior to our leaving for the hike. When I went to see if I could right it back up, I discovered the fiberglass poles had literally shredded.
So that was fun.
But no time to cry over broken tents, we had science to do!
Christie was back on, talking about insects and exoskeletons. She had prepared an ant farm, and packed it down for the kids to examine. It was pretty cool to watch all the ants rush out when she placed some honey inside the jar. And then we were off for our second (though much shorter) hike of the day, the local creek a hundred or so yards up the road.
The Pinto Creek is full of crawdads, and we were prepared with lunchmeat as bait and small buckets to catch them.
And catch them, we did.
Suzi’s oldest even caught what he called “Moby Dick” of crawdads
And then we ate them Just kidding. We took them back and let them go.
Because this was our last night, Suzi, Christie and I wanted to start getting things cleaned up so it wouldn’t be so overwhelming in the morning. So after dinner, we started organizing and working inside the building as the kids ran off to play. Then we looked outside. This is the best example I can give you of how great a group we had. They had organized themselves together to play night games, all of them. And they were playing, laughing and including everyone without any prompting or anything from us adults. There were 11 kids, aged two to 11. Most had never met the others before. We had one argument the entire four days. And it lasted all of 30 seconds. One. Seriously, the best.kids.ever. As the sun went down, we went out to discuss bats. I had found a ton of fun games and information on this site. But then my oldest started to get a migraine and I had to rush through some things. So we jumped right to bat diving. As a kid, going to Pinto, we would fill socks with rocks and dirt, throw them in the air at night, and the bats would dive after them. So that was the plan.
But apparently 11 socks flying through the air, with equal number of crazy kids screaming and yelling isn’t really conducive to luring bats out. So we didn’t have much success, which I felt really bad about. But the kids loved throwing the socks around. So at least they still had a good time. Or so I heard. I had to run back to the building to medicate my kid. Christie took these bat-dive-not pictures. Thanks, Christie.
With the kid tent unusable, we bunked the kids, and me, in the building on some pull out beds. It was the latest, longest, and deepest any of them slept the whole camp. Next time, we might just skip the tents all together.
Though I don’t know that I’ll volunteer for the chaperone position next time. Things got a little crazy in the morningAnd that was the end of Science Camp 2011. Thanks for reading.