The University of Maine at Presque Isle S.E.A.M. [Student Education Association of Maine] members provided the afterschool program in Washburn with a special treat this spring – they hosted a Read Across America event that had children "traveling" all over the United States.
With the help of UMPI's S.E.A.M. members and their imaginations, children were able to tour a bat cave in New Mexico, explore seashells in Florida, dig up fossils in Montana, and lay on a beach in Hawaii and learn a little about the Hawaiian language. Children were broken into groups and each was given a suitcase and a destination.
In New Mexico, the children learned many facts about the bats that inhabit the caves, as well as echolocation and the food the bats eat. Children made their own bats to put in their suitcases. Before heading to each next stop, children received stickers on their suitcases as passport stamps.
In Florida, the children used a seashell chart to identify various seashells. They were able to label the shells and learn interesting facts about the ocean. Before departing for their next stop, they enjoyed a "little piece of the ocean" – gummy fish swimming in cups of blue Jell-O.
In Montana, children learned about fossils, dinosaurs, and archeology by viewing fossils and dinosaur figures, reading a book about fossils, and learning about the archeologists who study fossils. The children then broke into small groups and looked at a book with facts about Montana, dinosaurs and archeology.
In Hawaii, children were presented with leis around their necks, enjoyed Hawaiian fruit kabobs, and learned some Hawaiian words. They also learned about Hawaiian plants, the way their alphabet is different than Maine's, and the different fruits they eat.
At trip's end, the children "returned" to Maine and had the chance to tell all their friends and teachers all about their adventures and what they learned. UMPI S.E.A.M. advisor Dr. Tomasz Herzog said S.E.A.M. members did an amazing job of providing a fun and interactive way for children to read and learn about different parts of the U.S. through their Read Across America activity.