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Funny bone: the geeks shall inherit the earth


Photo: Kiah Krassey

Science is serious stuff, right?  WRONG!

Behold the new lab freezer in a South Australian school!  Purpose bought to hold more of our incredible specimens so they can save on delivery costs and macabrely decorated by the incredibly funny lab tech.  How brilliantly cool is that?  For those of you that don’t recognise the pop culture reference on the sign -> go and read up on Officer Friendly and his band of merry men.

I don’t know where the traditional image of the mild mannered, white coated, serious minded scientist came from.  Over the years I’ve met and worked with some of the wackiest, funniest and weirdest people you’re ever likely to meet and they’ve all been brilliant minds of science.

Make no mistake, Vivsters, the geeks shall inherit the earth.  And when they do it’s going to be one big liquid nitrogen ice-cream making party.  Woot!


April 13, 2015


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Top Tip: inject the heart vascular system with paint

bovine heart with paint injected into the vascular system
bovine heart with paint injected into the vascular system
bovine heart with paint injected into the vascular system

Here’s a top tip that I first was given by a very experienced biology teacher at Brisbane Grammar. You can inject the vascular system of a heart with paint to highlight the blood vessels.  I had a practice yesterday and found it much easier on this bovine heart than I ever have on a porcine heart.  I’m not very experienced with syringes and needles, though, and there were plenty of labbies in the porcine pluck workshop at ConQEST that did a great job of it.

My tips for success:

  • Water down the paint a bit to make it easier for the syringe and needle.
  • Use a brightly coloured paint.  Red and blue is tempting but yellow, orange and green show up much more clearly.
  • Allow a bit of air to flow out of the needle into the blood vessel ahead of the paint if you can.
  • Massage the paint along the finer vessels with your finger.
  • Try not to tell the lady at the craft shop what you really want to use the paint for.  She will just look thoroughly disgusted and keep one eye on you until you finally get out of her shop.

I’ve also been told you can let the paint dry and see the highlighted vessels by cutting across the muscle and looking for the paint.

It’s fun!  Give it a go!




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How to get free teacher PD from Fizzics Education

science teachers workshop from Dissection Connection

science teachers workshop from Dissection Connection

Teaching science can be a tough gig.  There seems to be no end to the cool experiment ideas on the internet that you can try in the classroom.  But you don’t always have time or the confidence to check it out first and there is nothing worse than a science lesson that falls flat because the internet lied to you.

What if you didn’t have to ‘squeeze science in’?  What if you knew how to make science part of every lesson?

Fizzics Education offers a free teacher PD workshop for schools that book school workshops.   This is not a powerpoint presentation; it’s a bunch of experiments demonstrated to your staff that have been classroom tested.
We can also arrange this via video conference if time does not allow us to present this on the day of your school visit.

Miss Vivi has seen the difference even a quick one hour workshop can make to a teacher that wasn’t sure where to start with a specimen.  Let Dissection Connection and Fizzics Education give you a set of skills that will make you the best teacher you can be when it comes to delivering science in and out of the classroom.

Pop over and have a look at all the gory bits on their website and while you are there check out the other FREE resources they have for teachers.

Fizzics Education also currently deliver in-person science workshops into Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and also do Regional Visits.


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5 Things I Learned About Preparing Bones For Display

So, I thought it would be a good idea to prep a duck head and feet set to display the bones.  Sounds like a good idea, right?  You can make comparative anatomy displays for the classroom.  Fabulous!

I started with this:

duck head and feet set from Dissection Connection
Duck Head and Feet Set

Threw the lot into a pot and simmered it for about two days. It didn’t smell as bad as I thought it would. Kind of like soup.

5 things I learned about preparing bones for display:

  1. THIS KID is awesome
  2. Take as much of the skin, muscle and viscera off the bones as you can BEFORE you start.  Now I have spent at least an hour picking bits of meat and skin off tiny bones and checking meticulously that I haven’t missed anything.
  3. Put the separate pieces into SOMETHING before you start.  Bags made of old pantyhose would have done the trick.  Now I have no idea which bones belong to the left foot and which to the right foot.
  4. Cleaning bones and laying them out on a tray made me feel just like Temperance “BONES” Brennan – even though I had no idea what I was looking at most of the time.
  5. It was a VERY good idea not to throw the chicken head and feet into the pot at the same time!

As this kid laments, there is next to no info on the web about articulating bird skeletons.  I will definitely post a picture of the finished product with some more tips and tricks for you because you are going to be hard pressed to find it elsewhere.  Stay tuned, Vivsters.




Mar 28, 2014