The big happening was of course the annual statewide meeting of the Association for Environmental and Outdoors Education (AEOE). It’s a two-day weekend conference that opened with a group hug. Which was awesome. I then spent the rest of the day as a learner, sitting in on a lecture, exploring a series of population-oriented classroom activities, and taking part in a blindfolded drum stalk.
Come Sunday, I switched roles, and became a teacher. I opened by running a game of Fire Tag. We had a great time as everyone played out their role – chasing, fleeing, burning, and pouring. We used real water, which left us with a bunch of happily soggy players. Several said that they were excited to use the game with their own students. (photo here)
Later in the day, I ran a Puzzle-based program for a group of classroom educators. I use the Puzzle of Life to tell the Yellowstone Story, then walked them through the (free) Systems and Ecosystems lesson plans, and gave them the opportunity to craft their own set of pieces based on their own interests. This was a smaller group, which is not surprising given that the AEOE leans towards outdoors and informal education. But again, several folks were really excited about the ideas in this program, and looking forward to adapting these ideas for the students and ecosystems in their home space.
Overall, the conference was a wonderful experience. Good times with good people, united in a desire to help build a stronger world with beauty, kindness, and an appreciation of nature.
In subtler news, progress continues on my e-book, Exploring Matter. I think we’ve settled the text and design for the book itself. Much production work remains to be done (revisions to illustrations, and programming of interactions). We also need to do at least one more round of revisions to the teacher’s guide, to keep it in sync with the book. But we’re close! And the late-draft illustrations are really exciting.
This is hard, complicated, joyful, expensive work – and it wouldn’t be possible without your help. Thank you. As a special thanks for those of you who supported us at the $10 / month level and above, we’re sending you a set of three prints of late-draft illustrations from Exploring Matter. The printer cut the margins a little short (urg), but you’ll still get the picture. Har har