McAllen students break ground at Dig It! IMAS exhibit

Second grade students from McAllen ISD are the first to visit this new exhibition, Dig it! The Secrets of Soil at the International Museum of Art & Science. (Courtesy IMAS)

McAllen ISD second graders were among the first in the country to see the new Smithsonian Institute exhibition at the International Museum of Art & Science.

The new pilot exhibition was brought to the Rio Grande Valley from Washington, D.C.

As an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institute, IMAS has the opportunity to showcase traveling exhibits and it is now the first affiliate to present “Dig It! The Secrets of Soil.”

The bilingual traveling exhibition gave students the opportunity to learn about the future of farming, soil types, and its health impacts.

“We are forming connections to their classroom curriculum and the region by discussing the importance of soil for everyday life,” IMAS Director of Education Claudia Martinez Gray said in a news release. “The students are able to view the exhibit and conduct a hands-on science investigation with two types of soil found here in the Rio Grande Valley to better understand why soil is a basic need for plants and animals, including humans.”

“Dig It! The Secrets of Soil” is an exhibition created by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C., whose main message is for students to understand soils’ crucial role in our everyday lives.

IMAS will be hosting the exhibition in the Discovery Pavilion until April 3.

The exhibition also features other activities, such as a microscope table for a closer look at soils and an art project inspired by soil profiles researched by experts. Visitors can learn more and share their experience by using #DigItSoilsDIY #SoilScience on social media.

“IMAS was honored to be asked by the Smithsonian Affiliations to be the first Affiliate museum nationally to host Dig It!” IMAS President and Executive Director Ann Fortescue said in the release. “Being selected for this opportunity further acknowledges the outstanding work of the IMAS staff and the confidence in their abilities to take this opportunity to fully engage audiences of all ages in our community with this exciting and relevant topic.”

IMAS will also host a Soil Science Expo weekend Jan. 15-16 to further explore the significance of soil in the Valley.

The weekend-long event will feature noteworthy lectures, a family friendly community day and special art and science activities.