Tales of Te Papa resource masthead


The Cleaners

Episode:60Te Papa Collection:Natural Environment

Suggested curriculum levels:2 – 6

Curriculum connections:English: Listening, Reading, and Viewing, Science: Nature of Science Living World

Description:Just how does a museum clean all those icky bits from a skeleton? With some very industrious dermestid beetles of course!

Questions for students

  1. The narrator contrasts keeping beetles away from birds in Te Papa's collections with feeding beetles birds to eat. Explain the reasons for these different attitudes to beetles.
  2. Think about bones you may have found in nature, for example, on a beach, in the bush or on a farm. Use the 'Comparisons' response template to compare the role of beetles in a food chain in nature with your own role in the food chain. What is the same? What is different?
  3. How do the dermestid beetles help Te Papa? What does the presenter have to do before the beetles can get to work? Why is this necessary?
  4. Bird skeletons are important for the museum. Why? Who might use them and what could they learn from them?
  5. This Tale shows a side of scientific work that probably won't appeal to many people. From what you know about scientific careers, what attitude would you need to have towards doing 'dirty work'? Could you do this kind of work?

Related templates: