First School Visits for 2021

By Dr Jean Holley, UNE Discovery Voyager

Throughout each term, we have several trips away from UNE where we travel to a location and visit three to four schools in and around the area in a week. These are busy weeks, with lots of driving, unpacking, packing, facilitating and interacting with many excited and engaged students.

The first week of March marked our return to face-to-face school visits, and we kicked it off with a trip down south (well, south of Armidale). The lab was full of busy and excited packing and prepping on the Monday, and then the team hit the road to travel to Taree for visits to Coopernook Public School the next day.

This was followed by schools in Lansdowne and Stratford, and then we headed back to Armidale on Thursday afternoon. To mark our return to schools in 2021, I caught up with two of our facilitators, Anita and Imogen, to find out how they were feeling about heading back into schools, what they enjoyed the most, and how we can continually grow and be inspired by the little scientists that we meet!

  1. What was your most memorable moment from our first week back on the road?

Anita: I got to sit in and help Imogen in the activity, Day in the Life of Soil, a new and fun experience for me. The students loved playing at being munching microbes and their drawings of ‘themselves’ as various microbes were amazing! Playful hands-on science learning….yay!

Imogen: Helping Anita and Kieran remember their lines in ‘Rocking Through Time’ – I love the show so much, every time I watch it I get emotional because it’s so clever and the kids learn so much about geology. It touches me somewhere very deep – just like a metamorphic rock.

  1. How did you feel just before you were about to facilitate your first activity for 2021.

Anita: I was really looking forward to presenting our interactive show, Rocking through Time and it was such a treat to perform for and play with the nine students from Stratford Public School. Although I’d forgotten to pack a prop, and felt a bit frustrated with myself – doh! – , we were able to adapt and it all went smoothly.

Imogen: Very happy to be back at schools and excited to try new ideas and experiment with creativity and learning science.

  1. How did the students inspire you in our first week back on the road? 

Anita: So many of the students inspired me with their curiosity, their creativity, their questions and their enthusiasm for science.

Imogen: As always, the kids knew so much about the world around them. Sometimes it’s just our role to help them make sense of the pieces of the puzzle and watching them put it all together is such a great feeling.

We are excited and inspired to be back into schools and we look forward to seeing you and your students soon!