Skip to main content

BASF continues mission to spark early interest in STEM amongst outback communities

Media release

Close to 200 Kalgoorlie primary school students will experience a day in the life of a scientist when BASF Kids’ Lab returns to the Goldfields for the second year in a row. BASF has again partnered with Curtin University to ignite primary school students’ interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math).

Having already delivered a successful Kids’ Lab at Curtin University’s Bentley Campus (Perth) in June, the latest iteration of the program will see approximately 180 students from eight local primary schools visit Curtin Kalgoorlie, which includes the world-renowned WA School of Mines: Minerals, Energy and Chemical Engineering, from 7 – 9 September. With the help of university supervisors, participating children will have the opportunity to become scientists for a day and engage in 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 is designed to support children in developing an interest in STEM topics from a young age and to expand their perception of what a scientist, engineer or inventor does,” said David Hawkins, Chairman and Managing Director, BASF Australia and New Zealand. “After the success of last year’s BASF Kids’ Lab program in Kalgoorlie, we are excited to again bring the program beyond our traditional urban centres to more remote and rural areas, where I truly believe we can have an even greater positive impact on young students.”

Sabina Shugg, Curtin’s Kalgoorlie Campus Director shared that she was looking forward to the return of BASF Kids’ Lab to Kalgoorlie, “After a successful experience last year, a new group of Kalgoorlie school students will become scientists for a day. It’s great to see programs like this expand into regional and rural areas as it gives more budding scientists the chance to ignite a passion for science.”

Participating children from grades 4 – 6 will have the chance to conduct a series of easy and safe experiments with support from 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 iteration of BASF Kids’ Lab in Kalgoorlie are:

Paper chromatography: Using simple lab equipment and safe chemicals, children will observe the components of different colours and experience what happens when they are separated using a chromatographic process.

Sunset in a bag: By understanding the role of each chemical involved, children will cause a controlled chemical reaction in a zip lock bag, observing the by-products including the release of heat, the emission of gases and most interestingly, a drastic change of colour in the process.

DIY lava lamps: In this interesting experiment, children will see how the interactions of water and oil lead to a visually stimulating experiment that they can also take home as a memento of their BASF Kids’ Lab experience.

BASF Kids’ Lab 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. 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.