Tim & Anja's New Zealand Adventure travel blog

Here comes the bus to pick me up from work- sometimes there...

This is the 'Science' classroom- currently set up to teach Forensics

The climbing wall

The entrance to Science Alive!

This is the mind games area- full of puzzles and logic based...

The building that science alive is in, with the big clocktower- a...

The shop in Science Alive!

Some of the peope I work with- Chris, Sam, Marianne, Donna, Lecia,...

New Zealand's highest vertical side- can be quite an adrenaline rush.

Random, but cute- Tim bought me flowers one day and couldn't find...

Science Alive

So, now that I have been working at Science Alive for about two months I should have a pretty good idea of what I do there, and it's about time I wrote an update.......

A regular day usually starts around 6:30 a.m. having breakfast with Tim. I leave to catch the bus around 7:30 in order to make it to work by 8:15- and this is usually right around rush hour (nothing like Boston, but still a bit of traffic). On Saturdays and Sundays there may be one or two other people out and about, really rather quiet. The walk to the bus stop can be quite beautiful, because it's right next to the sea and the sunrises can be brilliant. It's nice to walk in that fresh salty smell, and currently with quite brisk temperatures. I'm looking forward to the coming of spring when the sun will be up earlier and the temperatures become a bit warmer. The bus ride can be anywhere from 15 to 25 minutes long- depending on the day- and it can either be standing room only, or just me and the bus driver on the bus (typical on the Sundays). The one thing I do appreciate about the buses here is that they seem to be better about being on time. They have a tight schedule, and if they are ahead of schedule for any amount of time, they pull over at designated stops and wait out the time, so they don't get ahead of schedule. It seems to work pretty well. Science Alive is about 5minutes from the bus stop and I walk through the Countdown (grocery store) parking lot and cross one of the biggest roads I've seen in New Zealand (three lanes of traffic in each direction).

Friday through half of Monday I work in the Interactive Area- where all the exhibits are located, and the glow in the dark 18- hole mini golf course. On the other half of Monday and all day Tuesday I work in the education department teaching lessons to school groups. On the weekends I'm in charge of making sure the high school and college students are doing their jobs properly and basically overseeing the place and dealing with any issues that arise. It's usually pretty easy, though sometimes little things pop up- something breaks, a customer is not happy, staff are late or not doing their jobs properly, a birthday party food order got screwed up at Burger King, teenagers are causing trouble for the staff- but they're all relatively minor.

At the moment we are gearing up for a new exhibit called 'Monsters' which is about the art and technology of animatronics and comes from Australia in early July. Also happening during that time is the two week holiday that school kids enjoy every 10 weeks. This means that Science Alive is going to be swamped with people- which is great for business, though it may be tricky to change up the exhibits......we'll see how it goes.

The education department has over 20 programs that they run for school groups and every week I observe a lesson and teach a two or three lessons for varying school groups- ages 5-13. It can be quite entertaining when working with the 'wee' (as they say here) little ones, as they have quite the imaginations and attention spans.....There are three classrooms that are used depending on what the program is. The younger kids usually go into the 'Discovery' classroom to learn about such topics as, the 5 senses, water, space, etc. The other classrooms, 'Science' and 'Technology' are used to teach such topics as, chemistry; levers, pulleys & gears; robotics; bridges; forensics; electronics; light & vision, etc. There is a great range of tools and media that the students can use with each program- K-nex, laptops, legos, robots, and even a blow-up star lab that is taken to schools and set up there. I'm certainly learning a lot and sometimes still shake my head that this seemed to fall into my lap so easily.

I usually end my day around 5 or 5:30 and help lock up the center and alarm the various rooms, before catching the bus and heading home. As I mentioned before I think I'll enjoy the spring more, because then I won't be coming and going in the dark and will hopefully have more time to enjoy some time outdoors.

We're definitely in the middle of winter here- and while it is raining here on the coast, there are buketloads of snow in the center of the south island. This has caused some problems as about 4,000 people went without electricity (and may still be without it), and the army was sent in to bring heaters, generators, food, and to help farmers with their sheep. The temperature has been dropping- still not as cold as in New England, but in some ways colder because the heating isn't always that great. Our lovely little cottage has a cute heater that we drag with us depending on what room we're in (similar to an IV). At night we turn it off, which means that at about 2:00 a.m. it is freezing!!!! But we're adjusting well. My only little annoyance is that I keep thinking Christmas is coming.

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