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Barbara Brink Internship: Week Two

Having wrapped up my second week as an intern, I am now waist deep in science facilitation and summer projects. This week, from Monday to Wednesday, I continued my training alongside the newly recruited summer science facilitators. Our roles integrate science and communication in conveying exciting concepts to the public. Through our training, we learned about the intent behind each gallery, navigated the responsibilities of our positions, and investigated the numerous exhibits within the geodesic dome. I had the opportunity to operate the virtual reality station in Made in Canada and lead my own workshop.

Among the many activities we explored, my most memorable experience was the animal handling training in Search on Wednesday. As anticipated, our group responded to cockroaches and geckos with a vast array of emotions — from joyous excitement to fear and apprehension. I personally loved every moment of holding the animals. Stick insects wobbled over my hands on their dainty legs; snakes wound their soft, smooth bodies around my wrists. Admittedly, I was startled by the cockroach scurrying up my arm. However, out of sheer necessity and self-preservation, I learned to cup my hand over the insect to create a secure, calming environment. 

On Wednesday, having concluded our science facilitation training, the new recruits and I received the signature blue science  facilitator shirts. Although frizzled from information overload, we were excited to begin our time ‘on the floor’. The first day, for me, was absolutely hectic. Summer camps swarmed my galleries. I bounced between customers and exhibits, working to recall and juggle my responsibilities. Nevertheless, interacting with the public enabled me to refine my speaking skills and grow my courage. Every moment sparked reflection: be confident, feel free to admit “I don’t know”, remind visitors to cleanup after themselves — tidying a mess of KEVA blocks doesn’t sound fun, does it?

Outside of science facilitation, I am assisting with summer camps — covering lunch hours for camp leaders. It provides the chance for me to interact with a wide range of children and learn various coordination strategies from the camp leaders. The children in the camps are always so full of ideas and energy — embodying the essence of childhood wonder and creativity. I love witnessing snippets of their projects and activities every day. In the upcoming weeks, I will be also be helping out with Summer Camp Showcases.

For my summer projects, I will be prototyping a number of tinkering projects, including homopolar motors, ozobots, etc. This Friday, I led a workshop on scribbling machines, contraption which doodles designs through the bounces, vibrations, and spins of an unbalanced motors. Through engaging the public in the process of construction, I was able to experiment with and refine the activity. Like myself, the participants were fascinated by the scribbling machines. Both children and adults responded enthusiastically to the activity, assembling and testing their own personalized contraptions.

Outside of tinkering, I will be blogging and developing Arduino projects for the Future Science Leaders program. Although my Arduino ideas are still up in the air, the objective is to create relevant, creative applications programming to engage and inspire students. I am excited to continue my exploration in the upcoming week of my internship!

Still curious about our Barbara Brink Intern? Read all about her first week