Nanogirl’s tour of New Zealand has now visited three centres – Rotorua, Christchurch and Tauranga - bringing science, technology and engineering to life for young people. So far the tour has engaged with over 7500 students, along with teachers and parents, through both the free school visits programme and live theatre performance "Little Bang, Big Bang".
With the support of Spark, the University of Auckland Faculty of Engineering, the MacDiarmid Institute and Beca, the tour is visiting seven centres around New Zealand between December 2nd and December 17th.
The tour’s school visit schedule continues today in New Plymouth with visits to three local schools, before continuing next week in Napier (five schools), Palmerston North (three schools) and Wellington (one school).
Nanogirl Labs believes that understanding of science and engineering – and inspiring people to explore STEM subjects in education – is critical to New Zealand’s long-term success.
“We're passionate about ensuring that all New Zealanders have access to science education. One of my goals is to challenge the stereotypes around engineering and science. I really believe that science is everywhere - and for everyone - and that’s what this project is all about. It’s also a huge amount of fun!”, says Dr Michelle Dickinson MNZM (aka Nanogirl).
Nanogirl spends time in each school visiting students and teachers through a partnership with The MacDiarmid Institute, demonstrating exciting experiments and providing teachers with lesson plans and curriculum material to support the delivery of science and engineering lessons in schools. Thanks to the generous support of the project’s sponsors, this is provided at no cost to the schools.
“The visits to schools really challenge preconceptions around engineering and science, and capture students’ imagination. When Nanogirl lets the students decide which teacher she makes fly – safely of course! – you really see a spark in their eyes. From their questions it's clear that they start to see engineering, science and technology as areas they can really engage with.” says Joe Davis, Tour Producer and Director, Nanogirl Labs.
Nanogirl's live theatre show, “Little Bang, Big Bang”, presents engineering and science in ways New Zealand has never seen before. Audiences can expect a performance packed full of explosions (LOTS of explosions!), liquid nitrogen, giant fireballs and daredevil stunts – there’s even a jet-powered supermarket trolley! (See a video at nanogirllive.co.nz).
“Little Bang, Big Bang” is both the title and underlying idea behind the show. Each scientific concept is first explored with a ‘little bang’ – an experiment carried out with the help of a volunteer from the audience. From there, Nanogirl and her assistant Boris use engineering to build an experiment that explores the same science on a MUCH larger scale (the “BIG Bang”!).
“Little Bang, Big Bang” opened at Rotorua’s Civic Theatre on December 2nd, and is touring the country until December 17th. Tickets to all performances are available online.