While “under-employed” in 2014 I started taking my mineral collection around to local (Maitland) pre-schools and primary schools in an attempt to instil an interest in geology in our leaders of the future.
My first ever roadshow was at my son’s pre-school with two rooms full of 3 to 5 year olds. Wow. It was pretty crazy, especially when viewing my collection, and my pegmatite from Sybella Creek lost quite a few pages from its mica books. Not likely 3 to 5 year olds were going to “just look, please don’t touch the rocks.” I lost track of how many times I was asked “is this a rock” but I guess it was a completely age-appropriate question. One 4 year old girl had me stumped though, when she asked if I had any rocks from Outer Space… I honestly had to say no and made a mental note to do something about this before some other small child put me on the spot at another roadshow.
We had fun throwing the pumice into a bucket of water and wetting our friends and pouring water on other rocks (and all over the desks) to see their colours intensify. No-one knew what the strange brown stones were that I passed around but like a true geologist, one little guy thought he’d lick one to see the minerals in it better. Oh dear though, when I told him it was dino poo I thought he was going to cry! His class mates, of course, were laughing hysterically. Maybe I should have saved that particular party trick for an older age group. For his bravery he was the first to be presented with his pet rock.
The session was hailed a success as the kids had at least learned that a Geologist is someone who works with rocks, just like Macca Pacca from In the Night Garden.
I usually try to present my road shows during National Science Week (3rd week in August) or Earth Science Week (2nd week in October), however I can be available at other times on request. Please see the document linked below for more information or to take to your Principal if you would like me to come to your school.