Teaching kiddos about lizards

This is a bit of a belated post, but the last week of October was science week in Panama. There is an alternative elementary school in Gamboa called the Gamboa Discovery School, and one of their teachers reached out to STRI to find scientists who would be willing to come give a lesson about their research. Zach, Xochitl, and I decided to volunteer on behalf of the lizard crew to teach the three classes about lizards.

I haven’t spent much time around kids, especially recently, so even though it sounds silly I was a little nervous. What is a 3 year old like? Can they talk? What can a 9 year old understand? Clearly I have no idea what kids under the age of 13 are like! But I was worrying needlessly, both because Xochitl and Zach are naturally excellent teachers and because the kids were all absolutely adorable – so bright eyed and full of questions and anecdotes about times they had seen a lizard. They loved trying to spot the lizards in the container of sticks and leaves, where their coloring is a natural camouflage, and they were eager to take a closer look when we held up two lizards for them to see.

It was refreshing to see that the kids were so innocently excited to learn about science – they’re not too cool for things like that yet. It seems like as we grow up and science classes get harder, people get turned off from the subject or they get too busy to with life to take time to appreciate things like lizards that they pass by. But it’s so important to care about science, and to get outside to appreciate how interesting and beautiful nature is. 

Look at all these adorable, excited little faces:

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“I saw a lizard one time!”

Happy belated science week – science is cool, amigos! 

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