Meet the scientist: Maddie Moate
Friend of Explorify, Maddie Moate chats curiosity, drama and the great science you can discover by asking seemingly silly questions!
What was your experience of science when you were young?
I loved science from a young age and like all children I was incredibly curious and relished in asking questions. I was the child who wanted to explore the world and forever tinker with new found objects.
Some of my fondest memories are of my mum taking me for day trips to museums and exploring the local park with my dad on mini adventures. I also spent a lot of time with my grandmother growing up. She ran a dog kennel and was always surrounded by puppies, so this definitely fuelled my passion for natural history and biology!
Sadly, I don’t remember much about science in the classroom at primary school but I think that’s because my memories of learning with my family are so prominent. We were always creating simple games, discussing and observing the world around us and I picked up a lot of knowledge without even realising.
I was lucky to have really ambitious science teachers at secondary school who were always planning exciting trips! I think the fact that so many of my positive experiences with science happened abroad, out in the field, really inspired me to find ways to connect science, travel and adventure as an adult.
What made you decide to talk about science as a career?
I didn’t pursue Science as a career initially, instead I chose to study Drama at university. Looking back now, I think that’s because I was lacking role models and I hadn’t invested as much time into the subject as I had elsewhere. I’d always loved drama, I had plenty of performers to look up to and I’d always been involved with dance, theatre and singing outside of school. In a way, all my extra-curricular activities meant that I already felt like I was already on the “ladder”, and I didn’t have that with Science.
Later on in life, I thoroughly missed the subject and was fortunate to combine my passions for technology and natural history with my skills as a performer and try my hand at factual presenting. I LOVE what I do now and have never looked back.
What’s one of your favourite things about your job?
I get to meet lots of children as part of my work and primary school visits are a highlight. I’m always amazed at how creative young people are. At a young age children aren’t afraid to ask simple or seemingly silly questions and it can lead to such fun conversations, especially about science. Recently, I asked a class to listen out for nature sounds in their playground and report back to tell me what they heard. Before long, this simple exercise turned into a mass foley session and soon we were using everyday objects to recreate and imagine the sounds of the tiny insects we couldn’t hear whilst researching their anatomy and diet! This was never my intention, it was the students own imaginations that took us there. This is my favourite way to learn with kids (even better when it requires zero props!).
What’s one of your favourite things about science?
I don’t think that science learning has to involve setting up extravagant experiments, I’ve learnt that a good chat about an interesting object can be just as fun!
Maddie has developed three exclusive activities for Explorify. Discover them here!