This Friday we took time to present at the Cambridge Science Festival ‘Science Carnival’. I particularly like this event because it is so big! We always had a crowd around our table, and I had the opportunity to talk about science with people ranging in age from toddlers to octogenarians. I was even able to speak to some children who only spoke Portugese by having their mom translate.
Since the crowd was mainly K-8, we brought a few different activities to help start some conversations about marine science. First, we had a big tray of dried specimens collected from the ocean. It was really interesting to see the scope of knowledge present—a few kids knew the name of every single animal! Others had never even seen a clamshell or a crab before.
We also brought a big bucket of different algae specimens to make algae art. It’s a really simple take-home activity of pressing seaweed between paper and cardboard, and letting it dry. After a week, you can either laminate the dried seaweed to make a bookmark, or frame it along with the species name to start a specimen collection.
My favorite activity was making a giant food web. Kids colored in pictures of their favorite marine animal, and then we connected food chains together with pieces of string. We made a huge interconnected web of the energy flow through marine ecosystems. It looked really awesome, and it started a lot of great conversations.
One girl told me her favorite animal was the octopus, which I didn’t have included in my pictures. So she decided to draw her own octopus, and she knew how many legs they have and what they eat! Another boy said he specifically wanted to color a Sperm Whale because they eat Giant Squid, and then drew pictures of them both. There were so many clever, curious, confident kids at this event—it made me really happy to be working in science and have the opportunity to share my interests!
Of course being a science geek, I had to walk around and see some of the other presenters. My favorite was a giant blow-up tent made to look like a cell inside. You walked in and they had all these big organelles hanging around, including a nucleus, golgi bodies, lysosomes, and even mitochondria made into inflatable benches to sit on! I also really liked the marble paper art made at the Science Club for Girls table and the “blue slime” I saw a bunch of kids walking around with! I cant wait to see what people come up with next year!