Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Questions and Answers

This week, as has been true with every other week so far, I've been finding myself marveling at the natural curiosity and inventiveness of children, especially those that I have been working with so far. I've found that the questions I get asked at the children's museum are always thoughtful and insightful, and run the gamut from, "Where did these crabs come from?", to, "Why is it's shell so hard?", to,"How many crabs are in there?", to, "Are those real?". Each question I am asked, whether it be scratching the surface of the animals we're showing off, (I mean this in a figurative sense, not that we're literally scratching the shells of these crabs), or delving further into the science that I love to share, is a testament to the inquisitive nature of children everywhere. This doesn't even take into account the curveballs that various adults can throw at me, like when I was asked by a biologist if we've ever looked at the efficacy of these types of programs at educating the public as to the importance of protecting the Boston Harbor. While I cannot say that I've ever been involved in a study to do so, I know just through my interactions with the public from the day to day, that great numbers of individuals walk away from our touch tanks with new knowledge in their head, and a greater understanding of the ecosystem right at the edge of their city.

A boy and his crab trap, the nets were acting as flags to show off its
On the other side of the spectrum, curiosity can lead not only to questioning, but to answers as well. Today at Blacks Creek, I was treated to a display in which multiple children set up different types of crab traps they had invented, in the hopes that it would be successful. One example being a dead oyster in a dip net, with the hopes that a crab would crawl in looking for a tasty meal. Another was a series of channels dug at the edge of the water, in an attempt to direct crab traffic inland. Unfortunately, neither of these attempts were successful in catching crabs. However, what they did show was that these children were making observations about the world around them, and trying to figure out different methods that they could use to accomplish their goals. I was struck by their creativity, and I hope to encourage and see it continue in whatever manner possible!

Until next time, I'll be pondering the best way to catch some crabs,

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