The Corazón Latino team and their fantastic cohort of bilingual volunteers had a ton of fun at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History’s Archaeology Family Day! Even though some time has passed since the event, we still find ourselves thinking about the fun we had.
At the beginning of the event, everyone received a “passport,” that listed objectives like, ask a question or talk to a scientist. If you accomplished all of your objectives, you received a field notebook! Every scientist knows that there’s nothing like a fresh, new field notebook to get you excited about science.
The event offered several archaeology-inspired activities for kids of all ages, but trust us, the adults had fun, too. Several scientists and experts orchestrated activities, such as: Flint knapping, corn-husk doll making, an ink gall workshop, and several others.
Flint knapping - the process of making stone tools out of flint - was a huge hit! The expert not only challenged public perception of what a scientist looks like (cool, hip, and a fantastic communicator), she effectively engaged her audience and demonstrated how our ancient ancestors made tools out of rock. She also used science as an opportunity to bring people together; she aptly explained how these tools connect us - any of our ancestors could have used a these tools to further the survival and flourishing of humanity.
Corn-husk doll making challenged everyone to express their creativity using very few tools. Kids were able to make their own dolls using nothing but corn husks and colored yarn, and they really delivered! With just two supplies, everyone was able to make unique dolls - different colored strings were used to fashion pants, skirts, and bracelets and all sorts of accessories. It was very impressive, not to mention fun.
Thanks to the Smithsonian, we’ll never have to purchase pens again! The ink gall workshop taught everyone how to make ink out of oak galls, also called “oak apples.” The galls are growths that form on oak trees in response to chemicals released by certain species of wasp. To make ink, the galls are crushed and combined with water. Writing your name in ink you made yourself is definitely a gratifying experience, though we’ll probably stick to Bic pens for convenience.
Our team and fantastic volunteers had a great time working and learning alongside families throughout the day. We can’t wait to come back!