Dig the Past – October

CAP hosted the second session of “Dig the Past” last Saturday at the MSU Museum and I am pleased to say the program continues to engage visitors of a variety of ages in fun activities that call on multiple learning styles. For this session, we added a few new things, including a slideshow about CAP and campus history, coloring activities for the younger visitors, a campus history flier, and a display case filled with campus artifacts, courtesy of CAP. Our main activities (digging, screening, and artifact investigation) drew in 20 youth (our target audience), with an age range of 1 year – 16 years. Naturally, the 1 year-old and the 16 year-old engaged with the activities in very different ways! The younger kids mostly just want to mess around in the dirt, but it is still an active learning experience for them in terms of fine motor skills, depth perception, and social interaction. It is also an opportunity to interact with their parents about the topic at hand, even if the parents aren’t immediately aware of it.

It is an ongoing challenge as well as a joy to tailor the program’s message and language to suit each visitor. That is part of what makes this program special – because each party of visitors is guided personally through the experience by one or more facilitators, we are able to work with their age level(s) and interests in a way that is both understandable and fun for them. In this way we are also able to allow them to spend time on the activity or activities that they have the most interest in – while a lot of kids love digging the most, a surprising number also love handling real artifacts, learning to use the microscope, and quizzing the facilitators for more information.

Part of the reason, of course, that we as facilitators have been able thus far to take such a hands-on approach is because our stream of visitors has been steady but not overwhelmingly high – at most, I think we’ve had about 10 kids actively participating in the room at once, with up to five facilitators. It will be another kind of challenge, should this program ever increase enormously in attendance, to adjust our activity flow strategies while still maintaining the tailored approach that allows kids the luxury to explore at will.

Photos from the event are available at http://www.flickr.com/photos/97088955@N02/sets/72157637011417274/

I hope you’ll come join us for our next session on November 16!

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