Home' Schools Directory : 2010 Contents But, if you can’t wait for Questacon’s vist,
many state museums offer outreach
programs in their own states, with some
activities even available by post.
Museum Victoria, which cares for that state’s
scientific and cultural collections, has offered
a kit loan service to schools in rural and
metropolitan Victoria for the past five years.
The kits provide access to collections
from one of Museum Victoria’s four sites:
the Melbourne Museum, Immigration
Museum, Scienceworks and the Royal
Exhibition Building, for students who may
find it difficult to visit.
Each kit is available for hire for 5 weeks at
a cost of $55, and all include a selection of
specimens, objects, replicas and photographs,
which students can handle at much closer
range than a museum visit would allow.
All kits are available to send by post. The
‘Finders Keepers’ kit includes everything
needed for keeping bugs at home or in
the classroom. ‘It’s Rocket Science’ is a
suitcase packed full of curriculum-focussed
activities, rocket models and equipment
for experiments, while the ‘Polar Secrets’
suitcase reveals a range of activities related
to the frozen wilderness of the Antarctic.
Says Manger of the Discovery Programs
Sarah Edwards: “It’s a fantastic way of
ensuring that there’s the opportunity
to engage with the museum’s objects
and collections, but in a way that is not
presenter directed but is self paced.
“It means the teacher can engage with
students in learning at their pace... and
if kids don’t get through the activities,
they’ve got five weeks to work through the
range of learning materials.”
In Western Australia, Scitech is a not-for-
profit, hands-on science centre that since
1988 has prided itself on making the
world of science an inspiring and exciting
experience: “Our mission is to increase
interest and participation by Western
Australians in science and technology”.
As one of WA’s biggest professional
learning providers, Scitech delivers
educational programs to around 2500
teachers every year. That includes an
extensive range of outreach programs,
including the ‘CSIRO Lab-on-Legs’, a science
educational partnership between BHP
Billiton Iron Ore, CSIRO and Scitech.
‘CSIRO Lab-on-Legs’ is available for upper
primary through to high school and
comes complete with exciting hands-on
laboratory experiences that highlight the
everyday applications of scientific research,
from forensics to food, the environment to
electronics. Once set up in a host school, it
can cater for 4-5 classes each day.
Scitech also offers a travelling mathematics
program called ‘The Maths Factory’, which
uses puzzles, full body mazes, maths
problems and conundrums from famous
mathematicians, to encourage students to
use a range of problem-solving skills and
learn how maths is involved in our daily lives.
But bringing the excursion to the
classroom needn’t mean that students
only get to interact with inanimate objects
– there are plenty of ‘live’ exhibits up for
consideration as well.
Wild Action Zoo, “where the zoo comes to
you”, has been bringing into the classroom
all sorts of scaled, furry and swimming
creatures from their base in Mount
Macedon in Victoria for the past 17 years.
The zoo, which employs a team of 12
science graduates and educates over
350,000 children a year, was set up by
Christopher and Nicole Humfrey.
Both qualified zoologists, the pair wanted
to create interactive hands-on ‘incursions’
that would captivate and inspire children,
while educating them about “the amazing
biodiversity of our country”.
All Wild Action Zoo’s incursions are tailored
to suit the age range and curriculums of
Victorian classrooms, from pre-school to year
12. And all include the opportunity for students
to touch and interact safely with animals.
Wild Action Zoo’s ‘Rockpool Discovery’ brings
the beach to the classroom, with a collection
that includes live sea stars, elephant snails,
sea urchins, giant mud crabs, shark egg
cases, sea cucumbers and an octopus.
By the end of ‘Insect-a -Mania & Mini
Beasts’ students will have had the
opportunity to interact, touch and observe
a whole range of native Australian
invertebrates. ‘Endangered Species’
considers the philosophical questions of
what is natural and what is unnatural.
The zoo’s ‘Australian Animals’ package comes
into the classroom complete with a live baby
salt-water crocodile, live (non-venomous)
python snakes, fresh-water turtles, frogs,
skinks, dragon lizards and geckoes into the
classroom for a one hour visit.
Being able to touch the visiting animals is
central to what Wild Action Zoo offers, says
“We don’t take any animals that aren’t
tame. Everything that we take into the
classroom, the students can physically
touch and hold as we move around the
circle,” she says
“I think once children physically touch an
animal, there’s a lot more empathy there
than looking behind a glass wall or a cage.”
By the time the presentation is over, not
even pre-schoolers baulk at the idea of
handling a baby crocodile.
“That’s the last animal to come out,” says
“We work our way up with all the quiet
cute cuddly ones... and by the end you have
children in tears if they don’t get to touch
“It has a bandage around its mouth, so it’s
perfectly safe and we explain that to the
Wild Action Zoo also works with special
schools, early intervention groups, and
adults with disabilities.
Even daily working rural experiences can
be brought into city classrooms. Animals
on the Move, in Gembrook Victoria, will
bring Brandy the milking cow to school so
that children from kindergarten to year 2
can see that milk, butter and cream doesn’t
just come from the supermarket.
In the hour and a half-long activity, children
can take turns to milk Brandy, discover how to
separate the cream from the milk and finish
with making butter using different methods.
“The kids get to taste test the butter and
they can either keep it or we take it back to
the farm,” says Rachel Woodham, daughter
of Brandy’s owner Leonie Woodham.
Brandy, says Rachel, is happy to go anywhere:
“She’s just happy to be there eating.”
For more information about Questacon’s
outreach programs visit:
For more information about Museum
Victoria’s kit loan service visit
For more information about Scitech visit:
For more information about Wild Action
Zoo’s programs visit:
For more information about Animals on
the Move visit: animalsonthemove.com.au
to the school gate
Australian Directory of School Activities, Excursions and Accommodation 2010 ➔ www.schoolactivities.com .au
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