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Posts Tagged ‘Science Communication’

… to spread the word to all undergraduate Melbourne University students you know about the subject Communicating Science and Technology.

I have blogged about this subject before. In it students get to write on a blog, write articles for different publications and even get on the radio. It’s an amazing subject, and well worth doing even if you don’t have to. I got more out of that subject and enjoyed that subject more than any other subject I have ever done.

Enrolment for this subject for next year is really low, such that it is at risk of being cut by the science faculty. It would be a real shame if this were to happen, as it is one of the most valuable subjects offered by the university.

So please help me out and spread the word!

Not doing so makes this puppy sad…

sad puppy

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When it comes to tools of science communication, it doesn’t get much better than the zoo. A few days ago, a group of friends and I went to the Melbourne Zoo for an afternoon of animal related frivolities.  The more I looked around the more I realized that the zoo was taking every opportunity it could to increase public awareness about the environment and the plight of endangered animals such as orangutans and elephants.

The “Wipe for Wildlife” posters were everywhere. This is a campaign to encourage people to use toilet paper made from recycled materials. In addition to the posters there was a quest to find “Who has the most unique poo in the zoo?” This involved toilets with poo on the lid scattered around various animal exhibits with the question “Who’s poo is this?” One would then lift the lid to find out the owner of the poo and where to go next to find clues as to who has the most unique poo in the zoo. I won’t give away the answer here… you’ll have to go to the zoo to find out!

This is a great way of getting children involved in being concerned about the environment. Children LOVE toilet humor. This was abundantly clear by the way they would run up to these toilets, feel the fake poo on top and eagerly look under the lid to find out who it belonged to, all with a giggle and a cheeky grin on their face. The “wipe for Wildlife” campaign appears to be a real success and is implemented really well by the zoo.

In addition to this campaign, the plight of elephants in south east Asia. The “Trail of the Elephants” winds its way round the enclosure that houses the zoo’s five asian elephants. It is themed in the style of a South East Asian village with bamboo, wooden huts and bright posters. It highlights that threats to these animals habitats as a result of human activities, and the attempts by conservationists to rectify the problem without putting the people of the region at a disadvantage.  The orangutan and tiger exhibits are similarly themes as their natural habitats are being similarly threatened. It is really effective in bringing the problem to the attention of the Melbournians visiting the zoo by essentially bring the problem directly to them.

The zoo does a great job of communicating these global environmental concerns to the general public. For more information on the Melbourne Zoo, go here.

This post is also found on my other blog, Science Communication.

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Triceratops Skull

An interesting thing happened a few months ago in the world of paleontology . Based on evidence collected over many decades it has been concluded that the triceratops and the torosaurus are in fact the same species, and are not separate species as previously thought(1). The tricaretops is in fact a juvenile torosaurus. I am a bit slow off the mark with this topic, having only recently heard about it, but thought I’d share it as an example of a topic that connects young children with the current science.

Dinosaurs are a hot topic with young children. It allows them to use their imagination and take themselves back in time in to our planets past, and think about and explore a world completely foreign to our own. The dinosaur exhibition at the Melbourne Museum is one of the more popular exhibits in the museum. It has children and adults alike gaping at the huge skeletal structures on display.

This is part of what makes this new science so exciting. It is a topic that already has a great following of young people, and so it is an easy way of showing the scientific process in action to a young audience. To be able to show children that science changes with new information, and is not a whole lot of hard facts that are set in concrete will give them an insight into what science really is and the way it works. This will hopefully encourage their own scientific thinking and lead to a new generation of eager scientists.

(1) J. B. Scannella, J. R. Horner. Torosaurus Marsh, 1891, is Triceratops Marsh, 1889 (Ceratopsidae: Chasmosaurinae): Synonymy Through Ontogeny. Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 30(4):1157-1168. 2010

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I have embarked on a subject titled “Communicating Science and Technology”. One of the more awesome things about this subject is that part of the assessment is blog writing.  The articles we writing will be posted on the subject’s blog hosted be the University of Melbourne, where I am undertaking this course. I will endeavor to also repost the articles I write on this site and promote great articles written by my fellow class mates.

This subject truly seems like an amazing subject. Not only will we be writing a blog, but we will be getting some hands on experience in science communication in the form of group projects. There are a number of projects to choose from including writing an opinion piece for the Herald Sun, giving a presentation to high school students, and even present a one hour radio show on 3RRR.

For me, this subject is in the running for the “Best University Subject Ever” award. I hope it does not disappoint.


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