2022: A Year in Review

2022 has been a year of great change for UNE Discovery. After a tumultuous couple of pandemic years, 2022 was when we finally started to feel like we were getting back to normal and down to business. At the start of the year, the Discovery Voyager team was quite small and a somewhat restricted in what we could offer. However, as the year went on we were privileged to be able to grow the team with new and vibrant facilitators.

Our team has grown to include palaeontologists, animal physiologists, insect ecologists, chemists, herpetologists, geologists, and astrophysicists. This diverse and passionate team brings their infectious enthusiasm everywhere they go – and this year that has certainly been a long way! The Discovery team has travelled far and wide visiting schools in 2022, from Moree to the Northern Rivers, Tenterfield to Tamworth. Even despite our slow start to the year, we have visited nearly 3000 students across northern NSW in 2022. A massive achievement by all accounts.

Some of our most popular Discovery Voyager activities this year have included Astrometrics, Creative Chemistry, Paleo Puzzles, Think Like A Rock, Living Latin, and Plants Poop and Pollinators. All of us on the Discovery Voyager team have had a wild time teaching students about measuring objects in outer space, the treasures to be found in rocks, the importance of insects, and so much more.

School visits have not been the only thing that Discovery has been up to this year of course. In March we visited Minerama; Glen Innes’ annual gem and mineral festival. Alongside some of UNE’s geologists and palaeontologists we spread the good word about rocks and fossils, and were able to help some members of the public identify some of their earthy curiosities.

National Science Week was, as always, a big time of year for Discovery. For several days we took over part of the Armidale Central Shopping Centre complex to bring some glass themed science to the masses. From glass prisms to mirrors, chemical glassware to kaleidoscopes, volcanic glass to magnifying glasses, we had a lot of fun sharing some of the wonders of this often overlooked part of our everyday lives.

In addition to this, Discovery also sent some representatives down to the Australian Museum in Sydney for the Sydney Science Trail. Across the week, and with the help of staff and students from UNE’s Palaeontology and Zoology groups, we presented several high school workshops and an exhibition stall showing off some fun aspects of animal teeth and showing what we can learn from extinct animals. George the Geologist even made an appearance on the Science Trail website.

As the end of the year approaches, the Discovery Voyager team has been out and about again for different Christmas events around Armidale. At the Christmas Markets in the Mall, and again at UNE’s Festive Flicks, we showed people of all ages some magical science experiments to have a little fun with science.

The whole discovery team are greatly looking forward to 2023 and we have been working on some new activities to bring to schools next year. The first of our new activities will be focussing on forensic science, analysing evidence, and solving head scratching whodunnits. Another new activity will be a problem solving game that turns classrooms into escape rooms! We will be bringing tricky, brainteasing puzzles to see if you could escape from the museum before time runs out. Both of these new activities promise to be loads of fun with some unexpected twists and turns. Watch this space as we offer these and more next year.

The whole UNE Discovery team is looking forward to a well earned break as the year comes to a close, but we can’t wait to get back out there and inspire even more students in 2023. On behalf of everyone at UNE Discovery, we would like to wish everyone a safe and happy holiday, with a bit of science and a lot of joy.

Yours in STEAM
UNE Discovery