Science Principles in Traditional Aboriginal Australia

During traditional times, Aboriginal people showed an ingenious mastery of physics to create hunting equipment and labour-saving tools.  They demonstrated knowledge of chemistry, held a deep understanding of biology through powerful observation and using all the senses to predict and hypothesis.  Additionally, they were competent at testing through trial and error, making adaptations and retesting to achieve a final result.   Aboriginal people were experts at reading … Continue reading Science Principles in Traditional Aboriginal Australia

Does size matter? Misidentification of, and assumptions about, the world’s largest lizard

Humans are fascinated by extremes; just consider the popularity of the Guinness Book of Records. It’s also reflected by our fascination with huge dinosaurs; think Tyrannosaurus rex and Brachiosaurus. So it is not surprising that claims that ‘giant predatory lizards 11m long once roamed Ancient Australia’ would garner attention and intrigue. In fact the lizard was appropriately given the scientific name, Megalania, meaning ‘giant ripper’. … Continue reading Does size matter? Misidentification of, and assumptions about, the world’s largest lizard

Teaching kids to be scientifically discriminative

It’s the school holidays in Queensland and the seconded teachers at QM are taking a well-earned break. This provides me with an opportunity to pen a few words whilst our teaching experts are away! Science has been at the forefront of local news lately, particularly in relation to conservation issues. The Courier Mail had a headline Reef at Risk blazed across the front page on … Continue reading Teaching kids to be scientifically discriminative

Indigenous Science: “Australia Had Ancient Trade Routes Too”

Trade and trading routes have developed and existed for many thousands of years all over the world.  In the period when Europe and Asia had the Silk Road and Spice Trade, Australian Aborigines were also using trade routes along overland pathways.  These trading routes connected Aboriginal groups throughout the entire landscape of the country including the Torres Straits.  Routes intersected and criss-crossed at significant sites … Continue reading Indigenous Science: “Australia Had Ancient Trade Routes Too”

Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012

Queensland Museum scientists will conduct free workshops this week in Atherton, Innisfail, and Cairns dedicated to assessing local biodiversity and the effect of human impact using data from insect trapping. These workshops will be funded with assistance from Landcare through Fiona George (Regional Landcare Facilitator, Terrain Natural Resource Management, Innisfail). The Queensland Museum Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012 workshops will include a free full day workshop … Continue reading Backyard Explorer North Queensland May 2012

New Ways of Looking at Old Treasures

The recent opening of Mummy: Secrets of the Tomb exhibition prompted delight on the faces of QM staff and the visiting public.  In addition to supervising the opening of the exhibition, British Museum expert Dr John Taylor identified a very significant old treasure. The piece of papyrus laying quietly in the display of QM artefacts has now been identified as part of an important Book of the Dead belonging … Continue reading New Ways of Looking at Old Treasures

Incredible Insects: From the desk of Quentin the Quoll

To teach the Biological Sciences sub strand of the Australian Curriculum well, teachers need to feel fairly comfortable with living things. Of particular benefit is knowledge of insects, firstly because they are invertebrates and therefore don’t require the enormous screeds of paperwork for approval to use them.  Secondly, insects are just simply amazing and frankly, without them, we’d all be dead! Insects of course are one of the … Continue reading Incredible Insects: From the desk of Quentin the Quoll

Aboriginal Science Tools: the Morah Stone

Greetings from the Museum of Tropical Queensland (MTQ). My name is Letitia Murgha and I am a member of the Strategic Learning team which is comprised of four seconded teachers from Education Queensland. We do lots of things across the museum network as you will have read in previous blogs.  As an indigenous elder and experienced teacher, my main role is to work alongside Trish Barnard (Senior … Continue reading Aboriginal Science Tools: the Morah Stone

All You Want to Know About the Eastern Mouse Spider – But Were Afraid to Ask

It’s the stuff of nightmares, big hairy spiders with huge fangs.  But we don’t need to worry about that because the deadly funnel-web is down in Sydney and those other ones are from South America, right? Wrong!  The spider in the picture is a Mouse Spider (Missulena bradleyi) and they are found all over mainland Australia.  They are the little cousin of the famous funnel-web (which, … Continue reading All You Want to Know About the Eastern Mouse Spider – But Were Afraid to Ask

Classification with Year 7 (Australian Curriculum)

A couple of weeks ago I started working with a teacher at a local primary school. Her year 7 class had finished most of their science course for the year so we developed a short unit on classification that the students could investigate. According to the Biological sciences strand in Year 7 of the Australian Science Curriculum, students need to consider that: There are differences … Continue reading Classification with Year 7 (Australian Curriculum)

Sustainability Focus in new Australian Curricula

Sustainability is one of the three cross-curriculum priorities in the new Australian curricula. This topic can be incorporated quite easily into teaching units for the new Science, History, and English curricula that are to be implemented in 2012. As stated in the Australian curriculum, ‘sustainability addresses the ongoing capacity of the Earth to maintain all life,’ and ‘Sustainable patterns of living meet the needs of … Continue reading Sustainability Focus in new Australian Curricula

Behind the Scenes – the Lumiere Cinematographe

Colleagues in the QM Cultures and Histories program have been researching  information about some of the oldest cameras in the museum collection, held in storage ‘behind the scenes’. This prompted me to write about a fascinating piece of early technology: the Lumiere Cinematographe. The Lumiere Cinematographe in the Queensland Museum collection was purchased by the Queensland Department of Agriculture to film Queensland life and landscapes. The official government photographer Frederick Charles … Continue reading Behind the Scenes – the Lumiere Cinematographe

QM Loans kits and the Australian Curriculum

Recently, our seconded teachers finished producing and labelling some new kits and these are now available for borrowing through QM Loans. These new kits are External Features and Micro Marvels. The first one is linked to Years 1 & 3, and the second one is targeted at Years 5 – 7 of the Biological Sciences strands of the Australian Science Curriculum. Teacher Resource Booklets have … Continue reading QM Loans kits and the Australian Curriculum

Proud Parents at QM

Last week some of our Giant Burrowing Cockroaches gave birth so we are proud parents here at Queensland Museum. Giant Burrowing Cockroaches are insects classified in the Phylum Arthropoda, Order Blattodea. They are native to Australia and found mostly in tropical Queensland. As their name suggests, these insects burrow down into the soil, often to a depth of 1 metre, where they establish their home. Inquiry … Continue reading Proud Parents at QM

Microscopes through the Ages

I was walking along the corridor on level 5 of Queensland Museum last week, pondering the topic of my blog post for this week.  I passed by the doorway to our conservation area and saw some very old microscopes. This prompted me to think about how microscopes have developed through time. In 1590 two Dutch eye-glass makers, Zaccharias Janssen and son Hans experimented with multiple lenses … Continue reading Microscopes through the Ages

Marvellous Molluscs – Part 2

Dr John Healy is Curator of Molluscs at Queensland Museum and is actively involved with research on molluscs (malacology). As John notes, the role of Curator of Molluscs covers many and varied activities. This includes taxonomic work on the collections, field work, identification of samples, public inquiries and even work on cultural and historical aspects of shell use and art through the ages. John has … Continue reading Marvellous Molluscs – Part 2

Marvellous Molluscs – Part 1

Darryl Potter is the Collection Manager for both Molluscs and Crustaceans at Queensland Museum. Darryl is involved in collecting, identifying, labelling, and storing specimens from the animal groups of Molluscs (snails, bivalves, chitons, squid and octopuses) and Crustaceans (crabs, shrimps, lobsters, barnacles, etcetera). He also maintains the database that stores information about these collections. Darryl has accompanied other QM scientists, such as Peter Davie (Senior Curator … Continue reading Marvellous Molluscs – Part 1

Displaying Insects

Now that the weather is getting a bit warmer, some creepy crawlies will be emerging from their period of winter inactivity. Teachers and students may like to engage in a schoolyard safari to collect, identify, and display some of our amazing Australian insects. On Queensland Museum’s Wild Backyards site you can find out how to trap insects using pitfall traps, malaise traps, and beating and … Continue reading Displaying Insects