Monday, July 31, 2017

STEAM in the Sand and a Seagull Standoff

I love spending my Friday afternoons at Carson Beach because they're diametrically opposed to the well established routine-filled days at the Children's Museum; you just never know what's going to happen!

My hard won prize!
This Friday the tide was out again, so after spending some time working on our boat art project (which is coming along quite nicely, if I do say so myself!) we ran down to the exposed sand goo to look for clams. By now, the kids are clamming professionals, and set right to it digging up clams. I, on the other hand, have proven myself to be an enthusiastic but not-so-successful clammer, and despite my best efforts, found myself empty handed. I decided that my clam-digging technique could use a little help, so I began to walk up to the bath house to grab a rake so I could dig a little faster.

I was halfway through the not-so-pleasant part of the beach where the texture of the sand changes from a fine silt to sharp, pointy rocks, when I heard something fall next to me. Startled, I turned to see what had just made an aerial descent into my personal space - a clam! Knowing that the chances of this clam falling directly out of the sky were quite slim, I looked about, suspecting that a Junior Program Assistant had thrown it at me.

I almost immediately locked eyes with the culprit: a seagull, who had seemingly hurled this clam to the ground in efforts to break it open and eat the insides for lunch. Well, seagull, tough luck, because I had spent close to 45 minutes up to my ankles in sand looking for these bad boys, and I was determined to have one for myself.

The seagull and I locked eyes, and I could see in his beady little pupils that he also felt entitled to this clam, and was quite determined to have it for himself, completely disregarding my intention of using the clam as a tool for scientific exploration and learning. Rude.

After what could have been seconds of eye contact, we both simultaneously made our move: the seagull defiantly waddled towards the clam, but I am, obviously, bigger and faster, and snatched up the clam for myself. Another day, another victory!

Two of my new friends reinforcing their dam (it's a work in progress)
After the kids had lunch and I spent some time admiring my hard-won prize, we grabbed some rakes and headed back down to the shoreline to make some art designs in the sand. The kids experimented with writing their names, drawing self portraits and fish, and creating geometric designs. 

Some of the kids decided that making art wasn't quite their speed, so instead used the rakes to engineer a system of dams and aqueducts. It was an awesome opportunity to get to talk about the rising tide and the structural integrity of sand as the kids tried to see who could get their "pool" to fill up the fastest. To be completely candid, there were some truly impressive feats of engineering out on that beach, and I'm hoping to see if we can use those skills to build even better aqueducts next week!

The day unfortunately had to come to a close, but it was filled with surprises, adventures, and a whole lot of laughs. And if you were wondering what became of my hard earned clam...a kid broke it open to see what was inside it as soon as I walked away from it. 

Your reigning clam champion,

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