When I was in grade four, I had a teacher called Mrs Flack. I don’t remember much about her, other than she had an amazing dirty blond perm that only women in the eighties and early nineties were able to get away with. That, and her love of dinosaurs.
Her excitement was catching and before long I was convinced a lifetime of being a palaeontologist was ahead of me. I poured over dinosaur books, dreamt of digging with tiny spades (I’m sure there is a more technical term) and then brushing off the precious fossils with tiny brushes.
Of course, as things go, I grew up and realised that being a palaeontologist was probably hot and dirty work that would involve lots of sitting in the dust. Which appealed to me less and less.
And now I work in communications, which can also be dirty work, but I digress.
So when an invite from ScienceWorks came to attend their family science night, with some real live palaeontologists, I was pretty excited. Nowhere near as excited as Poss though, who seems to have developed her own love of dinosaurs and digging in the dirt.
She made sure she was wearing her best T-Rex shirt and spent the morning drawing pictures of all her favourite prehistoric creatures. When we arrived, she made a bee-line straight for the scientists, but too shy to ask them anything, she watched them handle the fossils and chat with the other kids.
So we wander and explored, and despite her initial fear of the interactive exhibits we eventually made it right through the whole display. Being a ticketed event, later at night, the crowds were small and the kids were all able to get right up close and spend time doing each activity.
Bit by bit she overcame her shyness and right before we left, she wanted to speak to the palaeontologists. Getting their attention, she asked if maybe girls could also be palaeontologists? The four young scientists all then fell over themselves to assure her that yes, of course, before listing a bunch of them.
Her eyes lit up and she chatted with them some more; feeling the fossils in her hands and introducing them to James, the tiny Stegosaurus we had purchased in the gift shop. With full credit to them, they all ooh’d and aah’d in all the right places.
They asked her if she liked science and she told them about the lab at school that she loves spending time in, her carefully prepared lab book and the way they get to do experiments. They told her about blowing things up and the fun things she had to look forward to.
Who knows if Poss will become a scientist when she grows up, much less a palaeontologist, but I love that these sorts of nights are available to spark her interest and feed her excitement, showing her that really, anything is possible.
This is not a sponsored post. We just a great time and I wanted to share it. If you’re interesting in going along, there is another ‘science at night’ event in the September school holidays. More details here.