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Youngsters from grades 3 through 6 can learn about the Dust Bowl through hands-on activities during a one-day Kaleidoscope Conference July 16 [FRIDAY] at East Central University.

"Children of the Dust Bowl" will be held from 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and is one of the summer camps offered by ECU's Center of Continuing Education and Community Services.

Future elementary and middle school teachers who are students of Dr. Marty Pennington, ECU assistant professor of education, have developed and will teach sessions on the Dust Bowl, Route 66, Okies and the Can-Do Spirit exhibited by the Okies who built their own school for their children.

"All the lessons will be talking about the Oklahoma can-do spirit and all the things Oklahoma people have done for society," Pennington said, "basically how our Oklahoma roots give us a strong resilience. So many Oklahoma people are represented as contributing to society."

The cost is $30 and includes lunch and all materials. Parents can register their children by calling 580-559-5456.

Hands-on activities will include making travel brochures of Route 66, newspaper tents and dream catchers, which represent turning adversity into opportunity, Pennington said. They will create vanity license plates for their cars. That relates to visual literacy, or sending messages through visual cues rather than reading words, and how the plates express who people are. They also will decorate flower pots and talk about plants needing strong roots to grow into beautiful plants to tie in with the attributes of having roots in Oklahoma.

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