SLC Young Ambassador Blog: Week 2

22 07 2013

Hello, my name is Alana Zamora from San Marcos, Texas. This year, I was selected as a 2013 Smithsonian Latino Center Young Ambassador; Up to twenty-four graduating high school seniors are selected each year and are given the amazing opportunity to intern in a museum/cultural institution in their local community for four weeks. Currently, I am interning here at the Austin Children’s Museum. I will be posting weekly blog posts to describe my journey here at ACM, as well as, insights into the different summer camps that we offer at the Museum.

This week, I helped lead the ‘Young Scientists’ half day summer camp program for children, ages 4-6. For every half day camp, we have story time, hands-on activities and free play in the Museum. I assisted in leading science and art activities, playing with the children in the Museum and supervising them throughout their time at the camp. At this week’s camp, I had the opportunity to prepare the activities for each day, so I was able to see how much work goes into organizing a camp. Also, I was able to give feedback in ways to improve the activities for next ‘Young Scientists’ camp.

On Monday, July 8th, the theme for the day was measurement. The children learned about time, weight, temperature and length. Some of the activities for that day were, measuring and weighing sand, taking the temperature of warm and cold water, and creating a clock. Another activity that we had the children do was draw a picture of what they think a scientist looks like.


On Tuesday, July 9th, we learned about chemistry, reaction and slime. Camp leaders demonstrated baking soda experiments and helped the children create slime. The slime activity was very messy, but so much fun!Image

     On Wednesday, July 10th, the theme was color and magnification. Some activities that we had were, color mixing with paint, making a solar bead bracelet and Play-dough mixing. One of my favorite activities of the day was creating our own ‘rainbow’ using a flashlight and glass prism.Image

     On Thursday, July 11th, we learned about architecture and electricity. We had the children build houses out of wooden blocks and we had them create their own circuits.

     On Friday, July 12th, we learned about flying. The children learned about bats and made their own ‘bat hats’. They also created their own kite and roto-copter.

     Again, this week was amazing! I enjoy working with the children and watching them learn. Also, my fellow interns and volunteers are truly great individuals! I am amazed with all the learning that takes place during camp and I really do wish that I had the same opportunity at a younger age that all of these children are having now. Learning is fun!

     If you haven’t had the chance, check out my blog post from the first week of my internship!


Batty for bats and art

8 10 2009

Do you know how people began associating bats with Halloween?


There are a lot of different stories that explain possible reasons why. One story says that in ancient times, people thought bats had magic powers and their presence indicated there was a ghost around! Another story says that a long time ago when people gathered around bon fires for warmth and warding off spooky spirits, the light from the fire would attract bugs and the bugs would attract bats!

Also, when bats hang upside down to sleep and wrap their wings around them, some people think their wings look like witches’ cloaks. Others think vampires transform into bats. Bats don’t always have a negative image, though—they sure do eat plenty of mosquitos!

handprint bat

To celebrate the upcoming Halloween, you can make your own handprint bat just like the one pictured above. It’s a cool and simple piece of art you can make at home with just paint, paper, and your hands.

First, put some black paint on a paper plate. You don’t have to use black though—you can use purple if you want purple bats!

Then rub your left hand in the paint so your hand is evenly covered. “Stamp” your hand on the paper. Your handprint is one of the bat’s wings.

Now cover your right hand in paint and put your handprint beside the one already on the paper. Let the paint dry and then add details to your bat, such as googly eyes, fangs, or even a bowtie!

Austin is actually home to the largest urban bat colony in North America. Over a MILLION Mexican free-tail bats spend their vacation under Congress Avenue Bridge! There are still some bats lingering around—check out this website to learn more about Austin’s bat colony and how to see them.