On Sunday the 7th of April, my lab and I organised to take part in the Museum of Transport and Technology (MOTAT)’s Annual STEM Fair.
MOTAT describes their annual STEM Fair as “the perfect opportunity to introduce kids to the engage with STEM subjects and inspire young minds to get excited about industry and learning”. The fair had a huge lineup of different stalls, each showing a diverse facet of what STEM currently represents, but is also developing into. This year, the STEM Fair attracted 2038 attendees.
Our stall was called “It’s a Bugs’ Lab” and showcased a wide variety of bug themed activity. We had a selection of live native insects for the public to meet and potentially interact with. These were native stick insects, giraffe weevils, spiders, stink bugs and native/SA praying mantids. We also had boxes of pinned insects for viewing with a magnifying glass, a set up microscope where people can take a look at prepared slides, a poster where people try to find the hidden moth/stick insects/etc, and pin puzzles where kids could put together the life cycle of the huhu beetle or native praying mantis.
The main aim of our stall was to a fear-reduction focus on insects, with emphasis on the importance of ecosystem services that insects and spiders provide, and myth-busting/conservation, and hopefully improve the public perception of and appreciation for our focal groups.
We felt that the day was a huge success, and we all had a lot of fun making people appreciate insects. Looking forward to making it even better next year!
Here is a link to the video MOTAT created of the day. See if you can spot our wondrous critters!