Making a good impression: from fossils to false teeth
The science behind dentistry and good oral health
This science engagement project involved visiting 5 primary and intermediate schools in Dunedin during October and November 2016. Over 250 children aged 4-14 participated in our activities, which also engendered great engagement from principals, teachers and parents. Our journey started at Bathgate Park School, where over 30 enthusiastic students learned about the science behind dental impressions, how the shape of animals’ teeth relate to what they eat and they also made a plaster model tooth which they took home. We returned to Bathgate Park School the following week, where a very excited group of over 50 kids was keen to take part in our activities.
Next, we visited Pine Hill school and had a great time with the whole school attending our event and enjoying our activity and science communication videos that had been posted on YouTube.
We also visited Carisbrook School twice and presented our activities to Year 7 and Year 8 pupils. Again, word of mouth had spread fast and at the second visit we had almost double the number of students who participated in the first visit.
We had a great time at Brockville School with the Year 7 and Year 8 pupils. Students were excited about the dental models they made. The new Syrian students were happy to do the activities and to chat with Ghassan and Amira in Arabic, but also to learn new vocabulary in English.
We finished the programme with two visits to Te Kura Kaupapa Māori School. Tamariki welcomed us with an amazing powhiri and they had loads of fun taking part in our activities. We are sure we engaged with some budding future scientists and dentists during our visits!
The Making a Good Impression: from fossils to false teeth project was conceived by Dr Carolina Loch, Prof. Richard Cannon, A. Prof. Neil Waddell and Prof. Paul Brunton (Sir John Walsh Research Institute, Faculty of Dentistry) and is supported by the MBIE Unlocking Curious minds fund.