One of the great things about science is that it is everywhere and in everything.
Sparking a child’s curiosity can set off a lifelong interest in the natural world and a love of learning that can lead to all kinds of opportunities in life.
Our Tuesday Fruit And Veggie Mash Up Event
We headed on down to Bunnings at Penrith for our second National Science Week event. Our aim was to use everyday fruits, veggies and flowers to stage an event that encourages students to look into the detail of nature’s creations, to really get in and see how everyday plants and produce are actually full of detail and design.
We started out with a personal story from Dr Chris, that’s Dr Chris Cazzonelli from Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment. Dr Chris shared his story about he came to be a scientist, starting out life as a young fella in Queensland with a love of motorbikes and a real interest in the natural world.
Red Team, Blue Team, Green Team – Time To Get Stuck In!
Next we split the group into three teams with the task of pulling apart fruit and veggies of their chosen colour.
The Red Team had:
- Red Capsicum
- Seeded and Seedless Watermelon
The Blue Team had:
- Purple Eggplant
- Purple Grapes
The Green Team had:
- Spring Onion
The aim of this exercise was to explore the appearance, smells, textures and functions of these fruit and veggies.
- Why is celery so tall?
- Look at the stem – why is a celery stem curled like that?
- What are those ridges on the celery stem?
- Tear a celery stem downwards – what are those strings that come out?
- Cut the celery stem across – what can you see?
- Why is celery green?
There are all sorts of things going on here. First of all, it’s just so much fun to pull things apart, cut them up, have a look, have a smell. But more than that, it starts getting students used to posing questions and then exploring to find an answer. Then by having to answer questions they have to identify, classify and record their observations – this is what real-life scientists are doing every day.
“I’m Going To Give This Flower To My Girlfriend…!”
Next we explored the inner worlds of common flowers. Asking the students to think about why colours and scents are so common in flowers, we had the students delve into flowers like Asiatic Lily, Gerbera, Carnation and Sunflower.
It is true, boys love flowers just as much as girls: