You can’t spell Education without Science.

Ok, maybe you can. But that doesn’t mean that science is not a crucial part of education for both children and adults. Science helps us know things about the world, acquire general knowledge and develop a critical mind – and Archaeology is an essential key for all of this. By learning archaeology, we get to understand how people before us lived, how our current culture came to be, and how to think about our present. That’s why we participated in FIC.A this year.

FIC.A (the international festival of science) happened in Oeiras from the 12th to the 17th of October (2021) and gathered lots of research groups to bring science to students of all ages and to the general public. Obviously, the ICArEHB team couldn’t miss this event!

We had this awesome tent filled with activities:

  • a cool sandbox where everyone could dig “archaeological” materials with trowel and a pan in hand
  • microscopes to observe diatoms and charcoals, to understand the environments of the past
  • 3D materials and a 3D printer to show the public how we use these technologies to study archaeological materials
  • a set of geomorphology experiments to teach the public what archaeological sediments can tell us
  • shell necklaces and schist look-alike plaques for everyone to experiment how prehistoric people created ornaments and adornments for their body
  • parietal hand paintings so everyone could leave their mark on our tent, just like prehistoric people did in their caves where they lived
  • and a stylish exhibition filled with archaeological materials and reference materials, from a bear skull to awesome stone tools that were used to hunt
One of our young visits doing some parietal paintings in the colors of ICArEHB.

Thousands of people passed by our tent. We had classes with kindergarten children, 6- to 14-year-old kids from primary and middle school, and even older students from high schools. We talked with adults too –teachers, parents, grandparents and the general curious. Everyone had a chance to learn and discuss archaeology within the ICArEHB tent, and so we can safely say that we accomplished our goal. Science is lovely and sharing it with others is even lovelier. This experience taught us a lot about the value of teaching others and, hopefully, it taught the children and the adults a little bit about what we do and its importance. So, we aim to see you all again, in the next FIC.A, but perhaps also in our classrooms, here at the University of Algarve, hoping that our participation may have ignited a little spark of curiosity in the hearts of the next generation of scientists.

In the words of Dante: “From a little spark may burst a flame.”

Author: Joana Belmiro

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