NOTE: This guest blog post was written by Liz Gotzinger, a summer intern with Iowa Learning Farms and Water Rocks!. Gotzinger originally hails from out west – California and Arizona – and is currently pursuing Integrated Studio Arts at Iowa State University.
Last Monday, Anna Chott and I traveled to the Algona Public Library as ISU interns for Water Rocks! and the Iowa Learning Farms. Summer library visits are a lot of fun, although it is hard to know ahead of time whether there will be four children or forty! For these events we prepare thirty to forty-five minute presentations on various water-related topics. For this event we brought along the Conservation Pack module and the Clean Lake/Dirty lake activity, along with the Great Poo Pickup Relay Race. This particular module’s target audience is smaller children, kindergarten through about second grade.
Anna and I began to be a little nervous when the only children that had arrived were seventh graders! We waited and thankfully more children arrived, with the youngest being about five, so we quickly modified how we communicated our lesson to engage the current audience. We began and the children immediately were enthusiastic and wanting to have the opportunity to participate by giving answers and helping with the small games we brought along.
The most enjoyed activity and the funniest to participate in is the Great Poo Pickup Relay Race. When Anna and I explain that we are going to play a game with plastic poop and start tossing fake dog turds across the floor everyone is laughing and excited to play. We run the race two to three times if there is a good competition going. The children must wear a plastic bag on the hand they use to pick up the poo and run it to their team’s trash can…
Or else if they touch the poo with a bare hand, they get the dubious “bacteria bling,” which is a glamour shot of some bacteria on a shiny bead necklace which that child gets to take home. We teach them about working together and how small things like picking up after your dog’s messes can help the environment and keep our water clean.
Summer library visits are short and concise. It is so much fun to see the children enjoying the activities and learning something at the same time. What started out as a shaky visit turned into a great time! Thank you Algona for having some fun with us this summer!