Wednesday 16 October, 2019
Extreme Science on the road to the West Coast
People living in hard to reach and remote communities are often excluded from experiences that urban New Zealanders take for granted; Extreme Science II is challenging this, by taking science, and scientists, to the beautiful West Coast.
Funded by the MBIE Unlocking Curious Minds grant scheme, Extreme Science II is a collaboration between Otago Museum and the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, themed around astronomy, photonics, and the message that science is everywhere.
Extreme Science II is about discovering the science around us, by using inspiring demonstrations, interactives models and hands-on experimentation. It is a fully participatory and very memorable educational experience that will excite New Zealanders, who have thus far had limited opportunities to be involved in science and technology.
The team takes diffraction glasses, lasers, high-powered telescopes, and StarLab, Otago Museum’s portable planetarium, on the road, to excite and inspire isolated communities.
The East Cape, Fiordland, Stewart Island, and Northland have already experienced the programme this year, with approximately 1300 people taking part through school visits and free public evenings.
The Museum’s Science Engagement team is now preparing for the next leg of their journey, and will be in the West Coast area from 20 to 26 October. This is a fantastic opportunity for these communities to experience an interactive, family-orientated science programme delivered to their door.
The team is looking forward to working with West Coasters over the next week with visits scheduled to Haast School, Franz Josef School, Ross School, South Westland Area School, and Westland High School, as well as public events.
Nathalie Wierdak, Otago Museum’s Science Engagement Manager, says, “At each of the localities, we have built a great rapport with the communities. By providing a comprehensive, family oriented and face-to-face science programme, it encourages people to think actively about science and understand its relevance to them in their daily lives. We hope this will effectively inspire these communities to pursue a passion and curiosity for science.
“Extreme Science II has been well received by students, teachers and families alike, with very positive feedback and requests for return, and longer, visits. For example, Tikitiki School in East Cape, and Halfmoon Bay School in Stewart Island both commented how fantastic and engaging the programme was, and how they appreciated the chance to participate in it.”
Most teachers reported that they have not had science outreach visits to their school/rangatahi before and noted that their physical remoteness meant they were largely deprived of opportunities for science and technology engagement.
The team is looking forward to meeting West Coasters in the coming weeks, and bringing science to the country. If you would like some more details on our public events in the region please check (otagomuseum.nz/whats-on).
Extreme Science II is one of the many education and outreach programmes that Otago Museum has created. Far From Frozen, another science programme developed by the team, focuses on climate change, and in the South Pacific, the project has been lauded by communities, and has won national awards.
Science Journeys – Our Changing Climate, also running at the moment, is a guided programme for budding science communicators, which will include access to researchers aboard the JOIDES Resolution. These initiatives promote and enable research-backed thinking in our population.
West Coast public events
5.30pm, Sunday 20 October – Haast River Motel
5.30pm, Monday 21 October – Fox Glacier Community Centre
5.30pm, Tuesday 22 October – Franz Josef Community Centre
5.30pm, Wednesday 23 October – South Westland Area School
8pm, Friday 25 October – Granity School
For more information
Marketing Manager, Otago Museum