Voyaging online!

The world is certainly an unusual place at the moment. Unprecedented in modern times, in fact. And as we navigate what may be the new usual for a little while, it’s important we reflect on our guiding principle here at Discovery – to stay curious, to collaborate, to be creative, to hold confidence within ourselves and those around us, and to have a ‘can do’ attitude through these testing times. Staying true to these, we understand how different, and let’s be honest at times difficult, it can be having the whole gang back at home; balancing schoolwork with careers, learning with playing, schedules with free-time, and generally re-wiring our brains to adjust.

In light of this, if you have joined us on our socials, Facebook and Instagram, and have tapped into our online resources page, you’ll know that we have Voyaged Online! We want to ensure parents, teachers and kids around Australia are supported in these alternate learning environments, through providing fun, interactive, play-based resources across the ether to you. With all our online activities focussed on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths, we want to play along with you at home, providing you with resources to fuel the curious minds of your young ones, and help provide supported environments for learning through play.

Each day, we are posting resources through to each of these links for teachers, parents and kids, including explorations of the UNE Natural History Museum, links out to our Friends and Partners around Australia and further afield, our very own curiosities and collaborations to discover the answers in our Curiosity Series, and Citizen Science Projects that the whole family can be involved in.

Despite the UNE Natural History Museum having to close its doors due to the pandemic, we are flying around with Discovery’s Tiny the Lesser Long-eared Bat and Owldelle, virtually exploring all the wonderful specimens through videos and content posts, providing you at home with activity sheets to pair with each exploration. ‘What Animal Am I Wednesday’ might also be a hit for the whole family, as we examine different animal skins and let you at home guess what it might be. Kudos to you if you can pick this week’s, it was a tricky one!

Collaborations are essential in times like these, so linking out to our Friends and Partners is must. Museums, organisations, other educational centres and initiatives have a fantastic array of resources to ignite curiosity at home. From live streams, to exploring outer space, we are collating these resources on our dedicated web page to link you straight across to all the other wonderful things happening on the interwebs.

As mentioned before, it is essential that we reflect on our guiding principles here at Discovery. We are all currently working from home, practicing self-isolation measures to keep ourselves and our families safe. And, although we don’t have a presence in our humble Disco lab (that’s our nickname for the Discovery lab), the place of inspiration, curiosity and creativity, the team are certainly not lacking in any of these. The Curiosity Series was born around this, as we explore all the things that are making us curious while we’re at home, and working with you and your young ones to discover curiosities of their own. We answer the hard questions, talking to UNE researchers and experts in the fields, and encourage you to explore at home with our hands-on, play-based activities.

Through this, we also want to give you the opportunity to work with scientists, collect data and help answer real world questions by participating in Citizen Science projects run both in Australia and internationally. These projects range from community-based monitoring through to using the internet for data collection and discovery, but more importantly are viewed as a ‘public good’ (https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1890/110236), that is generated through a collaboration of the world’s community members that allow its participants to have a taste of research, while contributing to a greater cause.

So join us, as we Voyage Online, providing you at home, school, or wherever you may be with activities, videos, challenges, ideas and other play-based resources for your young scientists, technologists, engineers, artists and mathematicians to explore and discover. We are all in this together.


Stay well.

Yours in STEAM, UNE Discovery

– Written by Andréa Jaggi