We met up in our school's library, to continue researching. A Biology teacher noticed what we were doing and offered to help. We told her our plan and she advised us to try something else, since the sandbox idea would be really difficult to execute. We we're a little discouraged by this, but had to acknowledge she was right. So we decided to keep it simple, and dig an actual hole on the ground. We chose a location in the premises and then headed to the school's Biology and Geology lab to see what material we had at our disposal. Around it, we divided work in order to make our presentation: Sara Cruz will do further research on how to recreate an excavation site and the procedures the bones undergo once they arrive at the lab, Sara Serra will focus on the difference between paleontology and archeology, the duties of a paleontologist and the basic steps to conducting a scientific archaeological excavation. Sofia and Beatriz will learn more about how paleontology contributes to the field of evolutionary biology focusing on human evolution, while searching for curiosities about the Ardipithecus, the Australopitecos, the Homo Erectus and the Homo neanderthalensis. We discussed these ideas with our teacher, who gave us the green light.
We have prepared our presentation. We started by filling a tray with plaster and bones, for that is the way paleontologists transport the findings to the lab. Simultaneously, we mixed cement and water in a tray to recreate stone and threw a couple of bones in there too, so the children could dig them out. Then we started digging, using spades and shovels. Afterwards, we placed the sticks and rope in order to make the squares and buried some big bones we had previously cleaned. With the help of the military of our city, we set up a tent in which we put a cork board with informative posters, tables and a genealogical tree that showed human evolution, that was made with the help of an arts teacher. Finally we proceeded to ceil the tables. On two of them we layed the necessary material for the excavation, along with the trays. On another one we recreated a lab and on the final two we put some plastic bones (painted with the intention of making them look more authentic) so the children can try and solve the "puzzle" that paleontologists face since very rarely is a skeleton found whole. It was quite a handful of work but we were extremely happy with the final result.
Today we started presenting our work. It was only the first of three days and so far we are loving the experience. Not only do we get to present our work to the community (our audiences ranged from kindergarten children to fully-grown adults), but also we are obligated to work as a team, which can be challenging sometimes, but ultimately pays off. This project is definitely testing our ability to work as a team! Fortunately, this is a skill we will most likely need in the future.