Matt McNabb, Opera for All Teaching Artist
As the students entered the Peggy Notebaert Museum on Tuesday morning, the looks of wonder on their faces reminded me of the first time Dorothy gazed upon the Land of Oz! As soon as backpacks, lunches and coats were set in the correct bins, we took a journey down the yellow brick road of science and discovery.
The students got to splash and play while learning about clean water and ways to prevent flooding. They got to see many fascinating specimens of taxidermy, live animals, creepy creatures and real skeletons, including a real human skeleton! They got to see how food decomposes, and they got to stand under a UV light and see what germs may be lurking in their bathrooms. I found that exhibit much scarier than the skeleton!
Most exciting, the students got to enter the butterfly house and spend an afternoon in the company of some of the most spectacular looking butterflies I have ever seen. They flew around freely, and some lucky students had them land on their heads, shoes, shoulders and arms. I had one land on my thumb, just to say hello! One lucky student and I got to see a butterfly emerge from its’ cocoon. It was a new experience for both of us, and as we stared at this miracle of nature, awestruck by what we were seeing, I felt that childlike sense of joy and discovery that we as adults all too easily forget.
The purpose of this awesome field trip was to gather information and ideas for our classroom opera scripts. Our theme this year is “Growing Together: An Organic Love Story.” Script creation is my favorite part of the Opera for All process, and I anticipate some ridiculously imaginative ideas. I’ve already had one student tell me that she wants to play Mother Nature! Brilliant!