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But to Green Island pupils, ''the Poppazoid'' was a source of great curiosity and entertainment yesterday.
The contraption becomes a chemistry lab, a boom box and a food truck, among many other things, and is one of several characters in a musical theatre science show that is travelling around Dunedin schools at the moment.
The show is a collaboration between the New Zealand International Science Festival and local theatre company The Unity Creative.
Show director Jodie Bate said the play aimed to touch on important issues that children often thought about, such as coping with change, overcoming isolation through friendship and building resilience.
''It's highly visual and dynamic, portraying important messages, and at the same time engages its audience through music, hip-hop choreography and live science.''
New Zealand International Science Festival director Dan Hendra said it also showed children how science could
be used to understand the world around us, and through those insights came practical skills that could be applied
''This is exciting, and using theatre to understand this is a very effective medium to inspire and engage kids.
''Without going into too much detail about what science is, it explores the science behind everyday actions, like how we move, cook food, and solve problems through using hypothesis.''
He said the tour began on Monday and would continue visiting Dunedin schools until July 5.