Thursday, 9 July 2009

Incredible Science '09 Trip

The night before Incredible Science we did a wee bit of a drive-by to show the kids where we'd be heading Monday morning. My brother Craig pointed out each of the buildings, including where he works at the Uni. The kids were very excited - tama 1, especially. He has had very little sleep leading up to our adventure. Monday morning the children were all on the tramp at 5.30am!!!! Coaxing them to eat breakfast was very different for a change!!! However, we were in the van by 8 o'clock. We picked up Craig and as we neared Auckland University, we could see the crowds heading from the carpark following the signs to Incredible Science.

Firstly, let me just say how glad I am that we didn't show the kids the programme, or discuss what we might see. The reason being, I just knew we wouldn't get to everything and I would've been so upset if the children were disappointed to miss out on anything. The first of such disappointments was as soon as we tried getting tickets for the magic show. The queue was so looooooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnggggggggggggg that I had to make the decision to flag the idea. Whaiāipo and I had already discussed this prior so in actual fact, I was not surprised, but still, it was jolly disappointing.

: Arrive even EARLIER to stand in the queue for the ticket! The tickets were free, but because there are two shows which are extremely popular, they've had to assign (free) tickets. However, I have little ones who simply would not enjoy waiting around for over an hour in the hopes of getting tickets! Besides, the weather in Auckland can be very fickle and if it started raining I wouldn't be prepared to stand in the rain!

Now, let me quickly point out here that just because the queue was horrendous and I was disappointed to miss out on tickets, this DOESN'T mean I was in a mood for the rest of the day. I had already expected getting tickets would be risky, and as I pointed out above, I didn't let the kids know what the programme was because it meant I didn't have to listen to whining or grizzling or crying, like some other parents had to from their kids! I already knew there were STACKS of things to see and missing one or two shows certainly wasn't going to dampen my spirits about the day!

We headed over to the Engineering Building where the children's cousin spends the bulk of her learning day. She's a third year engineering student so it's pretty cool to be standing in the building where she's a student.

From the moment we arrived we were very busy which means I actually didn't take as many photographs as perhaps I may have liked. However, here are but a few from our wonderful day:

At the CSI area the children did their fingerprints and watched how blood is taken from an item of clothing for DNA purposes
For some reason I forgot to take a photo of the (bone) skeleton, but I did get this muscle-man, minus his brain and heart because students had them out from class!!!
At the engineering area we had to guess which was heavier: concrete -v- aluminium.
We learned how aluminium is used to keep chippies fresh.

Glassblowing was really fun. Mike and Alistair presented an entertaining session. It was obviously popular because many of us were in there practically an hour ahead of schedule. Mike had to throw on a video to help kill time. He also explained they couldn't start earlier because they were expecting a television crew who were to film the session.
One day our kids will be sitting in a similar lecture theatre as university students ... before I know it the day will be here
The following photo shows the television presenter Mike Gibb, from Studio 2 - a children's afterschool television show. Our children were completely oblivious (or should I say ignorant) of who Mike Gibb is. Other children in the audience were pointing and saying, "look, there's the guy from Studio 2 ..." but our kids simply looked on blankly ... nothing like spot the homeschooler, huh?!
Mike made a bird which you can see in the photo below ...
You may notice that both Mike and Alistair put on glasses to protect their eyes They also explained they sometimes use a hose to aid their glassblowing method

Here are some of the creations they made on the day, as well as other examples of their work

Not the best photo but this apple was made by Alistair. We tried to capture the worm up close, but with the bright lights we kinda over-shot the idea
Would you believe they make many of the beakers for the science labs?!
The all important Periodic Table!
Mike kindly had a photo taken with our up-and-coming scientists
The kids enjoyed using the elevator. This would be the second time they've ever been inside one.
It was a great day all round
We will definitely return in 2010!!

It really was a worthwhile day. The University truly put on a great event filled with so many activities, it would be impossible (I think) to get around in one day. We had our plan of attack and for the main part we stuck to it as best as we could. There were many things we missed out on, but catering for the needs and wants of all the kids means compromises had to be made. We didn't stay to the bitter end, but it didn't matter in the slightest. We had a full-on day and would you believe even the simplest thing of driving up each level of the carpark was excitement in itself ... especially for tamāhine 2 !!! She squealed with delight which had the rest of us giggling along with her.

I've probably missed countless important points - such as the excellent cafeteria kai and mochachino. Neat little give-away bags; our family gets so excited getting pens and notepads!!!!! Plenty of clean toilets, accessibility with ramps (bar only a few spots) and lots of identifiable staff to help if and when called upon. Carparking was free. You simply needed to swap your parking ticket for a special coded ticket at designated points. So you see, plenty of free things over the course of a busy day filled with science! The only major point to remember for next year: get there VERY early to be at the front of the queue for those tickets to the popular shows!!! Other than that, go prepared for an exciting day.

By rights I would hazard a guess that next year will be even more popular. There were thousands of kids en masse, as groups, families or friends going with each other. Some of the activities were such a squeeze to reach that I think a change of venue for certain things will be in order ... or perhaps not so many activities within close proximity to each other. Then it will have the making of a truly annual event.

Thanks for dropping by
ka kite ano

1 comment:

  1. I don't evny the crowds but it sounds like a fabulous experience. I'll join you in the queues next year