BASF once again partnered with Curtin University to ignite interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) subjects amongst primary school students from Year 4 – 6 from WA with the latest edition of the popular BASF Kids’ Lab program.
The program, which was first introduced in Australia in 2005 is a free and interactive chemistry education program designed for children to discover the world of chemistry through simple and safe hands-on experiments and help them understand the ubiquity of chemistry in our daily lives.
This year, the program was held at two Curtin University locations, namely the Bentley Campus and WA School of Mines at Kalgoorlie. Kids’ Lab saw a total of about 900 students from schools in the region had the opportunity to experience being scientists for a day. With the help of university supervisors, participating kids were led on a series of simple and interactive science experiments, all of which have a connection to things that they see, feel and smell in their everyday lives.
“Our Kids’ Lab program challenges children to experience how fun and engaging science topics can be. It is our hope to foster curiosity and interest for science, that may even lead to a rewarding career in a scientific discipline,” said David Hawkins, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF Australia and New Zealand. “I am especially pleased that we are maintaining this fruitful partnership with Curtin University, even expanding to two locations, so that we can continue to positively shape the viewpoint of science amongst tomorrow’s chemists, engineers, researchers and inventors”
Curtin’s Kalgoorlie Campus Director Sabina Shugg said the BASF Kid’s Lab was a great opportunity for kids to get a taste for science, especially those living in regional and rural areas. “Whether or not they want to pursue a career in science, the program exposes them to the foundations in a fun and safe way. Last year’s event had such a positive impact on everyone involved. I’m looking forward to delivering it again this year,” Mrs Shugg said.
Participating children at both BASF Kids’ Lab events had their chance to conduct three easy and safe experiments under the watchful eyes of qualified BASF employees and university mentors that will encourage the cultivation of their interest in STEM topics. The three experiments that will be conducted for this year’s BASF Kids’ Lab were:
Heat sensitive worms: In this fun experiment, children will introduce an alginate gel to a calcium solution that causes it to go from liquid to solid form, making a ‘worm’. After that, they also found out how a thermochromic dye allows the ‘worm’ to change colors in response to temperature.
Paper chromatography: Using simple lab equipment and safe chemicals, children observed the components of different colors and experience what happens when they are separated using a chromatographic process.
Natural toothpaste: By understanding the role each ingredient plays, children discovered how to make their own effective, safe, and homemade natural toothpaste, reinforcing not just the importance of dental hygiene but also sustainability.
Since its launch in 1997, the program has been brought to more than 30 countries and regions across the globe. This program has been running in Australia for over 15 years.