A Journey through Wonder Shell World
On July 16, 2011, a new section of the well-received special explanation series by volunteer docents unveiled with the theme of ‘a journey through wonder shell world ’. The docents presenting this section were Gao Yuan and Chen Xiaowei, both of whom are excellent members of BMNH Volunteer team. Larding the special explanation with touchable specimens, experiments and interactive games, they led the visitors into the wonderful shell world.
Mollusks are known as the spirits in the oceans and one masterpiece of Mother Nature. They are one of the most successful animal groups and have enjoyed prosperity through millions f years. With their fantastic shells, fabulous body structures and close relationship with humans, they have long been a mysterious and popular topic. Under the guidance of Chen Xiaowei, the visitors gained scientific insight into shellfish, learned about the relevance between shells and money, and touched specimens of tiger cowries.
Comparing to the communication of scientific knowledge, the development of scientific research attitude and methodology is much more important. The experiment we designed aimed to cultivate the children participants’ ability to face up to the difficulties and pose questions to authoritative explanations. They were encouraged to break down the mysterious whooshing sound inside the shell.
The interactive game we designed especially for this section was a contest; the participants tried to search for the shells designated by the docents as quickly as possible. In such an intensive and exciting atmosphere, the participants memorized the characteristics of different shells and the related scientific findings and legendary stories.
Since ancient times, humans and mollusks have entered an inexplicable relationship. Although mollusks have provided valuable resources for humans’ survival and prosperity, people seemed not to be so concerned about what we should do for those gentle life forms in return. We hope this section not only brought joy and souvenirs to the audience but also aroused their consciousness to protect the animals and pore over the implications of life. Without life, shells of the most grandeur are only ‘pretty empty houses’.