The conference was a Holy Cross in Worcester. They have a lovely conference center. Needless to say I was a bit agog when I walked in to the room I was presenting in and found WHITE table clothes. Yep, WHITE. Clearly these people didn't read the sign on the door: DIRT LAB.
Almost all the participants brought dirt from home and not surprising we observed that most samples were muddy. Two were dug from indoor locations so they were much drier. Three had critters: spiders, a worm, and one sow bug.We made a dirt soup: Everyone put a bit of their dirt in to a jar with water. We shook it up and then let it settle. At the end of the workshop, we took a core sample of the dirt soup and found many layers to the sample.
We stretched our comparing and contrasting muscles while we examined two special kinds of dirt: sand and clay. Finally came the fun: Which dirt would make the best mud! We measured the amount of water two samples would accept before puddling.
The discussion among the participants was rich and filled with laughter. We talked about why teaching science to preschoolers is so vital. Many of the participants provide direct services to preschoolers or plan too in the near future. I was heartening to hear so many people who believe as I do that preschoolers are capable of doing science in an authentic manner.
I am so glad I was able to participate. I'll tell you more about the workshops I attended tomorrow!