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The Gold Coast Science Fair

21 Aug

The inaugural Gold Coast Science Fair was on this weekend.   We’ve had it marked on our calendar for a while now.   We usually jump at the chance to see or do anything Sciencey.

The turn out was mediocre though.  Probably a good thing.  But hopefully more people hear about it next time.  It’s so nice to see Science get centre stage for once and the crowds, both parents and kids, seemed to be having a great time.   I know we did.  My boys have already said that we’ll have to go every year.  I suspect we will.

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There were lots of explosive and informative shows to watch on the stage and wonderful weather to enjoy  it with…thankfully!  Yesterday it poured down rain all day so it could have been a totally different experience today.

We arrived early as we really wanted to see the “Science on the Go” show.   It was worth the early morning start.  Lots of dry ice and liquid nitrogen fun.  Plenty of booming explosions too!  How can anyone not like Science!  It’s soooo cool!!!

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See the blue stuff spilled over the Scientist's lab coat?

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THe children are using the carbon dioxide in their breath to make it disappear

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But he needed more cardon dioxide than what was in our breath

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See! Blue stains all gone!!

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Lots and LOTS of liquid nitrogen

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Your adrenalin starts to rush when they put on protective gear. It's gotta be big, right??!!

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And stands on a chair to keep his distance and plans to pour a bucket of boiling water into the liquid nitrogen

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Kaboom!

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While we were waiting we also watched an acrobatic show.  These kids were amazing.  No safety harnesses or nets to catch them either.  I bet they struggle to find an insurer to cover them for accidents.  Eeek!

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We also saw demonstrations by the Scope team from Channel Ten (Dr Rob Bell & Julia Cleghorn).  As we don’t watch much (okay…any) commercial television (the boys watch approved DVDs) we hadn’t seen their show before.  But after having seen them present I’m keen to check out their episodes (better dust off the recorder).   (I just found a place where you can watch past Scope episodes online…check it out!!)

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The standard demo...diet Coke and Mentos

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But what about Diet Fanta and sand???

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Elephant toothpaste...apparently

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Aside from stage shows there were plenty of exhibitors to visit and explore.  One tent housed various Science activities presented by different schools.  (I’m glad we were there at the right time as this event was only available for one hour and doesn’t look like it will be available tomorrow).   This was probably the best event of the day, aside from the shows of course.  The idea was to showcase the type of Science that is done in school (I will hold my tongue on this) from grade one through to high school.    So we started with magnet explorations,

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chromatography (that where you spread marker colours with water), and fun paper helicopters,

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then moved to exploring how much weight a paddlepop stick bridge can hold,

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made slime

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and a rubber band driven paper airplane

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and finally explored electricity,

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mixed chemicals to make goo

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and watched high school students separate the DNA from the cells of strawberries

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and explain velocity and acceleration (well they tried) using a cool roller coaster car.

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We even did a little Math.  Each child entering the school Science area was given a coloured sticker to add to a large graph to show which school’s presentation they enjoyed the most.

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In between shows we pottered around the other exhibits, patting a blue tongue lizard that was shy about showing his tongue (I suppose you get over that by the hundredth visitor),

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exploring solar energy (this cell ran a pump that pumped water and standing in front of the solar cells…well you can imagine what happens but my boys had to do it a dozen times just to make sure their eyes weren’t deceiving them.  Hehehe.),

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checking out the inside of an ambulance,

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exploring the bones in our body (we won a drink bottle for solving their puzzle),

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created bubbles,

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watched fountains in a bottle

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and used different electronic devices to drive a Mindstorms Robotic Car (they were using iTouches to control some of them!).

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Oh yes and they had Science Show Bags for sale.  We were excited by that wondering what cool Science gizmos and goo they might include.   Well, we were sorely disappointed.  Aside from a ruler, mini tube of toothpaste, plastic magnifying glass and dish of Smarties, it was full of paper junk.  Vouchers for this and that that no child would find interesting.   We’ll give those a skip next year.

Okay, and while I’m complaining (I’m tired, sunburned and grumpy you see)…to the people who persistently walked in front of the the audience and then stopped and stood right in front of people…please oh please consider that there might be other people in the world aside from yourselves.  Just a thought.

Okay popping a happy pill…and considering a nap…

On the way home we had to stop and watch the fairy floss makers (some people call it “cotton candy”) which of course led to two boys sharing a large amount of sugar between them.   I must say though, the “fresh” fairy floss is much lighter and nicer than the stuff that is jammed into those little bags.

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So if you were wondering why we didn’t do anything Sciencey during school this week to celebrate National Science Week, you now know why.   Pretty cool way to end Science Week though.

Oh and our fun day didn’t stop after we left.  We had to vote on the way home…yep Federal Election today (which means there’ll be nothing good to watch on TV tonight).

The little school we voted at had activities for the children.  The boys got stickers, a balloon and a cupcake to ice and decorate.  And me…all I got was a piece of green paper and a really long white one and had to play eeny meeny miney moe about how I wished to vote.  Okay I put a bit more thought into it than that.  But to be honest, are any of them really great choices??  I went with the one that I reckon is the best of a bad bunch.   Time will tell how that turns out.

So that was our Saturday…full to overflowing with Science and a tad of SOSE (Studies of Society and Environment) to top it off.   Pretty good for a non-school day!!

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Posted by on August 21, 2010 in Field Trips

 

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