SCHOOL: Oak Grove Elementary
PROGRAM: Can You Dig It?
Last week, I had the joy of teaching Can You Dig it to Oak Grove Elementary’s 4th grade students.
This was a really fun day. It was a half day for me, which meant I taught two sessions that day and then spent the rest of the day in the office coming up with plans and experiments for our up coming camps. That’s the best kind of day there is. When teaching a half day, your mentality changes. You’re energy is high because you know you’re spreading a full day’s worth of excitement and and enthusiasm over a half the day. It’s the difference between a half marathon and a full marathon (I assume, I’ve never run more than a 10k). It’s a lot of energy either way, but you can use more of your reserves.
Anyway, I was excited to be teaching a half day, but I was doubly excited to be teaching Can You Dig It?. As you might guess, Can You Dig It (or CYDI, as none of us call it, but I will for the rest of this blog post, ’cause it’s easier to type) is a Geology themed program. We talk about the basics of rock and minerals: What makes a mineral a mineral, what are the three basic categories of rock, etc. Like many kids I was super into rocks when I was growing up. I would scour every Camp site, Hiking Trail, Parking lot (Gravel or otherwise) for “cool” rocks that I could add to my collection.
I was not discerning.
On a recent trip back to my parents house I happened on my old rock collection. I kept it in an old wooden Cheerwine bottle rack which my mom had found for me at a flea market. I had the rack set up on it’s side so as to display all of my incredible finds.It turns out these incredible finds consisted of some five or six dozen granite specimens clearly found in our driveway, twenty or so river rocks which I guess looked cool when freshly pulled from the creek where I found them, but now were all a uniformly dull gray, and a hand full of what I’d have to guess were colored pebbles leftover from the fishbowl of a goldfish I’d won during a fall festival cakewalk. A well curated scientific classified collection this was not.
But man, I loved those rocks! And they were junk! I WISH I had had the opportunity to do something like my friends at Oak Grove did in CYDI?. They each got their own excavation site and a chisel to dig with. They got to wear safety goggles, and headlamps. They got the full experience! AND, on top of all of that, the stuff they found was actually COOL! Many of them found over 12 different specimens, all of which they could classify AND run tests on. Like I said: The full experience!
Watching nearly 50 students over the course of nearly 3 hours uncover and discover all these new rocks and minerals, and knowing that many of them would be going home to place them in their own Cheerwine crate (or special drawer, or secret hiding spot) at home brought back the sense of excitement I would feel every time I found a new rock in some new unexpected space. It made me feel genuinely warm and inspired.
AND it was a half day!