Chemistry is cool
UNDER the watchful eyes of employee volunteers from the German-based chemical company BASF, 20 pupils of SRK Sri Petaling in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, experienced the wonders of chemistry through simple, hands-on experiments recently.
The fun, educational workshop, organised by the Malaysian branch of the BASF Kids’ Lab at the company’s Asia-Pacific service centre in Kuala Lumpur, was a sneak preview of an upcoming five-day event aimed at enhancing scientific knowledge, particularly in chemistry, among the young ones.
In conjunction with the International Year Of Chemistry 2011 – of which BASF is a global sponsor – the interactive programme will be held on a larger scale from Nov 9 to 13 at 1 Utama shopping centre in Petaling Jaya. Entry is free for children between six and 12. Targeting a total participation of 1,500, it includes specially invited kids from primary schools, orphanages and children’s homes.
“The BASF Kids’ Lab programme cultivates an interest in chemistry through the discovery of its fundamental role in everyday lives,” said BASF Malaysia managing director Daniel Loh.
“Since we started the Kids’ Lab programme in Malaysia in 2006, we have received overwhelming response from primary school students who participated in the programme. Through feedback from schools we found out that students look forward to it every year.”
The workshop is made more meaningful with the voluntary service of BASF staff who acted as facilitators.
Said K.P. Lau, BASF Asia-Pacific Service Centre managing director: “We encourage our employees to support community-related activities. For the upcoming programme, about 150 of our employees in Malaysia have registered as volunteers.”
During the session, students will take part in four exciting water-themed experiments. They will learn how a chemical compound called super-absorbent polymer can absorb liquid up to 1,000 times its weight, and how it can be applied in products such as diapers.
The children will also see how activated charcoal works as a medium for the removal of organic contaminants in wastewater purification, and learn about the importance of emulsifiers in the making of body lotion.
That’s not all. There will be a station featuring chemistry-themed games and information, and activities for parents and the public.
BASF first launched Kids’ Lab at its headquarters in Germany in 1997. Its programme offers kids the opportunity to discover chemistry through simple and educational experiments. It was introduced in the Asia-Pacific region in 2002 in Beijing, China. Since then, more than 200,000 kids have benefited from it. It is currently held in 17 countries. n The upcoming BASF Kids’ Lab event, open to children aged six to 12, will be held at 1 Utama in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, from Nov 9 to 13. Participation is free, on a first come, first served basis. For more information and registration, visit facebook.com/BASFMalaysia.