For the first annual MSU Science Festival, Campus Archaeology will be hosting four activities for school-aged children and rewarding their efforts with limited edition CAP tattoos! We know the kids will love this prize because even the CAP graduate fellows have been having fun with them.
We were able to get 1,000 custom tattoos made with our logo and Sabrina spent some hours cutting them into individual squares. We will have towels and spray bottles so they can apply them to their skin on the spot. It should be great fun.
Sylvia and Sabrina attended a workshop on Friday put on by the festival committee on how to ensure that our presentation in the Science Festival tent will be most relevant to children and allow them to feel they are in a process of scientific discovery. The facilitator was the one who suggested the tattoos be a reward for a discovery, so that they are engaged in the scientific process.
The activities we will host include
1. Sorting: they will receive a cup of various small objects like beans, seeds, and buttons, and decide how they will classify and sort them. Sorting is important to archaeology because it helps us organize what we have found, identify it, and start making interpretations about the site.
2. Cave art: they will receive a small, smooth rock and will draw something of importance in their lives to represent prehistoric art, and they can take it home with them. Cave art is important because it tells us about what people were concerned with in the past. While we don’t know exactly what the designs mean, we know that they were meaningful enough for people to devote time to create them.
3. Screening: They will pour sand over screens and retrieve the artifacts this uncovers. Then they will place the artifact in its appropriate storage box and receive their tattoo! Whenever we dig we have to screen all the dirt to make sure that we don’t miss finding important smaller artifacts.
The purpose of the Science Festival is to celebrate science, teach people how to “live science,” give people hands on experience, and to demonstrate how science is relevant to everyone. Our purpose is to share archaeology with people of all ages, showing them a variety of activities and letting them participate!
We cannot wait to be a part of this project in the community and to cover kids (and ourselves) with tattoos.