I love to get people excited about the science that we do in our lab! There are two main outreach projects that I developed in the lab, one is targeted towards elementary-aged children and the other is targeted towards teen/undergraduates and older.
Fish Face Frenzy uses coloring sheets as a way to talk to children about adaptation to diet. Each child chooses a coloring sheet, and then we ask them to guess what kind of food it eats. From there, we can discuss how different “faces,” let the fish eat different foods at an age appropriate level. Once they are done coloring, we take a photo of their fish and upload it into a virtual “Lake” on a monitor so that it can swim around, and they can take their fish home with them!
Dances with Fishes showcases some of the cichlid behaviors we measure in the lab. We display actual experimental footage, as well as a video that compares cichlid social interactions to human social interactions. Additionally, we teach two different dances, the Courtship Cha Cha and the Come-at-me-bro Do-si-do. Our handouts for the event diagram and explain the cichlid behaviors, and show how to do the human dance steps as well.