Neighbours of UNE science lecturer Mary McMillan have been the beneficiary of driveway science lessons recently.
Dr McMillan has been homeschooling her seven-year-old son Hamish, and the pair have enthusiastically taken to covering the driveway of the Armidale home with chalk.
While chalk drawings have become popular during the coronavirus pandemic they don't usually offer fun science facts, but Dr McMillan explained it started when they decided they should share what Hamish was learning.
It started with a giraffe, to explain how many bones were in their long neck.
"We found out they had the same number of vertebrae as humans, and pretty much all animals," Dr McMillan said.
"Last week and this week he's been doing a report about an Australian native animal and he chose wombats, so we were looking up things about wombats, and discovered that they have cubic poo."
That fact now adorns the driveway.
Another day it was about octopuses.
"We found out that they have three hearts and that their blood is blue. So we thought we'd share that."
Along with the fact, Hamish has been drawing a picture on the driveway to accompany it.
"I did have an idea that I would love to do it along the bike path into town, but it seemed like a lot of effort, and chalk!"
So while it is limited to their home, Hamish, who is in year 2 at Sandon Public School, has taken great delight in seeing the reaction it has generated in the neighborhood.
"We can see the end of the driveway from our front room and we sometimes catch people out the window stopping and reading them.
"He loves when he sees that, because he gets really excited that they're reading his science facts."
While Hamish goes back to the conventional classroom, Dr McMillan said it might not mean an end for the chalk drawings.
"It might become a permanent fixture at the end of our drive," she said.
- Dr McMillan writes a regular column for The Armidale Express, and her most recent column was about the chalk drawings.