Shell Questacon Science Circus

by Deb on August 8, 2011


The country version of Scitech or science museums, the Shell Questacon Science Circus travels around Australia in a big truck which really impressed the big girl. They put on shows for schools and in town halls and have a whole heap of portable science fun to spread around for kids. I’ve seen them in several places, including some that were literally at the end of the bitumen. Big girl got to see them at school last week then we went to the evening show. (Unfortunately my camera died during the evening :()

The School Show, by the Big Girl (5)

They had a race. They had three jars, one with strawberry topping, one with water and one with honey. There were marble type bouncy balls in there, and they had kids go up to tip them over and see which one got to the bottom first. Water was first, then strawberry topping and honey was last. That’s because honey is thick and sticky, we had to imagine swimming through it and we were all moving our arms really slowly (cue big girl looking like the bionic woman). And in water it was easy (lots of thrashing and hitting her arm on the desk).

They had all different types of slime, one of them Sarah did karate punches and if she went quick there was only a little bit of slime on her hand, and if she went slow there was a lot left on her hand (I’ll bet this was cornflour goo, but no Mummy it was blue!).

The best bit of the show was when they put a table on lots of balloons and they got 8 or 7 kids to stand on it and the balloons did not pop! When they used a spatula and whacked the balloon it did not pop, but when they had higher pressure with the pointy skewer it popped. (She did say pressure, she obviously remembered it from the show.)

The Evening Shows

There were several evening shows with silly stories to tie together different tricks. Big girl liked the stories, but told me very solemnly that they weren’t real, they were just having some fun. She liked it when they set fire to the bubble mix someone was holding and there were lots of flames. The demonstrator coated her arms with detergent mix then held a handful and they used gas to blow bubbles into it. The gas is the key – it will be a flammable gas of some sort. Then an ignition and presto – lots of flames, but the water and detergent coating on her arms stops them from burning.

Little girl’s favourite was when the lady lay on a bed of nails and they sledge-hammered a concrete brick on her chest! No trick here, the brick spreads the force of the sledgehammer and disintegrates, and with enough nails you spread the weight out so it doesn’t hurt.


A balloon with water in it doesn't pop when a flame is held on it - the water spreads and conducts the heat away.


Actually doing the tricks was mostly beyond little girl, but she had a ball collecting marbles and watching everything. She got a kick out of the monkey swinging in the zoetrope. Big girl liked the pressure mat where she could jump and it told her how high she went. I liked the mirror illusion which tricks your brain into thinking your hand is moving.

It’s not the sort of thing I can say “Go and see it!” because unfortunately you have to wait for it to come to your town. And if you live in the city you won’t get it, but you can go to your local science museum instead. But I do love that there’s an attempt to bring the fun and wonder of science to kids, even when they live in the middle of nowhere.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Containerliving (@ContainerLiving) August 8, 2011 at 4:50 pm big girl wrote a review about the Science Circus.


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