Summer Science Shows sizzle at Te Papa

If you were lucky enough to be at Te Papa at 10:30 on either Tuesday or Thursday these last two weeks then you may have got some hands-on science in your day.

Visitors enjoying some sunshine and science in the ampitheatre. © Te Papa

Visitors enjoying some sunshine and science in the ampitheatre. © Te Papa

Last week, Mel Dash from Audience Engagement helped visitors learn more about states of matter. In particular, the audience learned about dry ice and such facts as:

  • It is really cold, -78°C to be precise
  • It is solid carbon dioxide
  • It doesn’t melt – it sublimes. This means it changes from solid straight into a gas.
  • It gets a LOT bigger when it turns into a gas – 500g of dry ices can make enough gas to fill 250 soft drink bottles!
  • It bubbles when you drop it in water.
Mel demonstrating some 'cool' science with dry ice. © Te Papa

Mel demonstrating some ‘cool’ science with dry ice. © Te Papa

Mel also did some demonstrations using bubbles and one lucky volunteer got to stand INSIDE a bubble!!

 

A visitor gets to experience being inside a bubble. © Te Papa

A visitor gets to experience being inside a bubble. © Te Papa

Budding young scientists then got to do their own scientific investigating to determine which detergent when mixed with water can make the best bubble mix.

This week, it was my turn to do the science and my topic was pressure. After thinking about what it is that scientists actually do, visitors got a chance to be scientists themselves and question, predict and experiment to make some fascinating discoveries.

Science Week 009

Visitors to Te Papa learning about pressure. © Te Papa

To help in these discoveries we had volunteers donning stiletto heels (thanks to the male volunteers for being such good sports!), sitting on a bed of nails, karate-chopping rulers and tipping glasses of water over their heads (and staying dry) and making rockets out of film canisters.

At the end of the show children and their parents were able to make a balloon powered boat to race across the duck pond and if brave enough, they took a seat on the bed of nails.

 

A brave volunteer sits on our bed of nails. © Te Papa

A brave volunteer sits on our bed of nails. © Te Papa

The four shows were a great success and we look forward to seeing more people engaging with science at Te Papa in the future!

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