Scientists meet Scientists: ECE ‘Back of House’ Visits (Group 1: Imagine Childcare)

Scientists meet Scientists: ECE ‘Back of House’ Visits (Group 1: Imagine Childcare)

Throughout 2015, young children from three Wellington regional Early Childhood Centres (ECE) have been thinking and working as scientists as part of the ‘It’s a Bugs Life’ partnership project with Te Papa Education. In celebration of the mahi (work), their teachers and educators from Te Papa arranged for the children to come and meet with more experienced scientists working here at Te Papa. In doing so, the children would get to go behind the scenes, seeing the amazing collections they work with, and the special lab areas they work in.

First up on the 29th of October, Imagine Childcare travelled into the city from Petone via the public bus – an exciting adventure in its own right!

Travelling on the bus, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Travelling on the bus, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

They walked up to our Tory Street building, where the many of our Natural Environment collections are kept and studied. Here they went right down into the basement and met with Phil Sirvid, our spider expert, and Ricardo Palma, our insect expert, in amongst the drawers and drawers of specimens. The children had emailed Phil and Ricardo prior to their visit with questions to explore together. These included:

“How do tree weta climb up trees?”

“How does leaf insects get camouflaged?”

“How do bees make honey?”

” How do spiders wreck (break) their legs?”

Phil and Ricardo were really impressed by the invertebrate knowledge the children had, and the way they tackled the questions that were posed to them by using their observations.

Ricardo sharing about beetles, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Ricardo sharing about beetles, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Phil sharing about New Zealand spiders, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Phil sharing about New Zealand spiders, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

Coming down to Cable Street, where our botany collections are housed, they met with Carlos Lehnebach, our orchid expert, and Leon Perrie, our New Zealand fern expert.

Carlos showed the children a range of different orchid plants, including his favourite – the spider orchid.

Looking closely at a spider orchid, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Looking closely at a spider orchid, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
An onion orchid, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Carlos introducing an onion orchid, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

The children found out more about plant adaptations by looking at some of Carlos’ cactus collection.

The hair on this cactus works like a sunhat, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
The hair on this cactus works like a sunhat, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

Did you know that daisies are actually lots and lots of individual flowers all clumped together? Each petal is part of a whole new flower! You can make this discovery yourself by looking with a microscope.

Looking at daises under the microscope, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Looking at daises under the microscope, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Using the microscope, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Using the microscope, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

Leon then got the children to compare and contrast the underside colour and arrangement of spores on different New Zealand ferns. What a lot of different patterns there are!

Examining a silver fern, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa
Examining a silver fern, Photographer: Imagine Childcare, © Te Papa

To finish their visit, the children from Imagine went into the Botany Herbarium, and looked at some of the dried and pressed daises in Te Papa collection, and some of the mosses too.

Discovering the botany collections at Te Papa, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
Leon and the children discovering the botany collections at Te Papa, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa

After lunch, the children and their teachers went back to Courtney Place to catch the bus home, buzzing with exciting with about all the interesting things they had seen.

The scientists were delighted to receive some special cards today (6 Nov), thanking them for the experience. As you can see, the children from Imagine got a lot out of the visit.

A card for Phil, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Phil, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Ricardo, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Ricardo, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Leon, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Leon, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Carlos, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa
A card for Carlos, Photographer: Te Papa, © Te Papa

Make sure to check out our upcoming posts on the Scientist meet Scientist visits made by Kiwi Kids Early Childhood Centre and Raumati South Kindergarten too!

7 Comments

  1. I was apart of the excursion and the feedback from the parents and children was very positive, truly a great opportunity to meet with the experts and share knowledge. Thank you for making it possible.
    Adela .

    1. Author

      We really appreciated your dedication to our shared project Adela

  2. Hi, my son Alex was one of the children who visited you. He had such a lovely day and was so inspired. He told me he now wants to be a scientist (as well as a superhero!). Great work Te Papa 🙂

    1. Author

      Awesome to hear! I know our scientists were very impressed by Alex too

  3. Wow what an awesome opportunity!! I bet the children will remember this special visit for many years to come!!

    Cam
    (Centre Director)

    1. Author

      Thanks Cam. It was a great opportunity for us at Te Papa too

  4. Hola Ricardo.

    What a fantastic opportunity for those children who visited you. Maybe one day my grandaughter Isabelle ( 6 weks ) will have the opportunity to be taught by you.
    Cariños
    Graciela

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