As part of the Kids in Museums Takeover Day we invited a group of enthusiastic Year 7 science students from Kelvin Hall School to “takeover” our Guides for the day!
In the spirit of this year’s climate action theme we focused on Ocean Acidification using our Changing Seas exhibit as a baseline. The students were particularly interested in learning about our resident pufferfish Clive and how his toxins might change by becoming 7-14% more toxic at a lower pH and what this meant for other animals and us humans!
After explaining how carbon dioxide reacts with water to cause acidification (and of course a tour of this information in our Changing seas exhibit itself!) the students put pen to paper and came up with their own ideas for presenting what they had learnt to our visitors ta The Deep.
Many of the students shared similar ideas such as using our pH scale and carbon emissions games to engage both children and parents alike alongside creating fact sheets and prompts.
The takeover team then decided the use of tactile objects such as our cuddly crab (aptly named Crabby) and building molecules to demonstrate the changes in chemical signals and what this means for ocean animals in an easy-going and clear manner.
They all had a strong understanding of what visitors might enjoy in terms of presentations as well as what people need to know about the science itself, all of which makes for a wonderful guide!
After breaking off into two teams we set the stage in the Endless Oceans area of The Deep with the carbon emissions and pH games either side of the molecules table.
At first a few of the students were nervous about approaching visitors (which of course is difficult in any job role) so they decided to up the antics and add to the fun by making it a boys vs girls in competition for chocolates provided by their teacher with myself choosing the winning team. After a quick announcement about their presentations on the microphone we were soon surrounded by curious visitors!
Once the students got into their stride the information they had learnt about the pH changes in water from 8.1 to a projected 7.7 as well as how annual food waste leads to 4.4 tonnes of carbon emissions simply rolled off their tongues like a sales-pitch!
Their confidence grew with each visitor interaction and their enthusiasm for involving the younger children in their games was admirable with many families praising the student’s approach and attitudes.
Overall the amount of information the students had digested and then accurately explained to the public was incredible! The difference in their approaches at the start of the day compared to the presenting aspect had evolved massively alongside their confidence with many of them showing excellent communication skills throughout.
ROUNDING UP THE DAY:
Before they departed we made sure they had an opportunity to view the whole aquarium as they had all been so focused throughout the day. A few comments were made about wanting to work at The Deep once they were old enough as well as how amazing it was to be there for the day. This of course is a fantastic result and goes to show how important it is to give young people the opportunity to experience our jobs to help shape their own decisions.
In the end I couldn’t decide which team won the chocolate as to me they all showed amazing growth during the Takeover day not only in terms of knowledge but also in terms of confidence and development of their skills. I informed the students I believed they all deserved chocolate, fingers crossed they all receive some chocolate soon!
ChynaGuide at The Deep