The new Kids’ Lab at BASF‘s Bradford site was officially opened today (Friday, November 11) by Judith Cummins, MP for Bradford South.
After joining pupils from Hill Top Church of England Primary School in an experiment with colour changing ‘worms’, she said: “It is really good to see kids from local schools getting involved in science. This is the future.”
BASF’s Kids’ Lab programme aims to promote science to primary school children in over 30 countries globally.
The new dedicated laboratory in Bradford provides modern learning environment for student aged 9 to 11 to experience science in action with experiments developed just for them.
Guests at the event included representatives from local authorities and universities, the Royal Society of Chemistry, and the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration.
Des Martin, headmaster of the Hill Top School told them that Kids’ Lab was always the first entry in the school calendar. “Here they get to see what real science is about”.
Andrew Weatherall, BASF’s Vice President Operations for Paper & Water Chemicals said, “We know that the Chemical Industry struggles with how it is perceived. This affects our ability to encourage young people to choose science related subjects in schools and university. In the UK, BASF supports employees, through the STEM (Science Technology, Engineering and Maths) Ambassadors programme to try change the perception and help the next generation consider science or engineering in either further education or through an apprenticeship.”
The Bradford site joined the kids’ lab programme when BASF acquired the site in 2009. It is run by 40 BASF volunteers and over 130 schools, 4000 pupils and around 380 teachers have been to the site over the years to see for themselves how science positively impacts their everyday life.
Dave Calder, Site Manager at the Bradford Site expressed the importance of the Kids’ Lab in the local community, “As well as enhancing the reputation of our site, the Kids’ Lab brings together our volunteer employees with schools in our local community, which in turn helps us to not only promote science in everyday life, but also helps to start to develop relationships with children, their parents and wider families in the local community. Being a valued member of the local community is important to us at BASF.”
Over the years there have been nine dedicated experiments carried out in the lab with “Keep Cool” being the most recent.
Commenting on the experiments, Joanne Love, Site Communicator of Bradford and Grimsby said, “The experiment “Keep Cool” enables pupils to examine how insulation can effect temperature and energy can generate electricity. The special colour changing worms are always popular with the children. Next year, we look forward to introducing a Lego challenge and a new experiment focussing on identifying vitamin C in food and drinks. We really hope pupils who visit have light bulb moment which will be the start of their future career in the chemical industry.”
Note to editors: Pictures from the event can be downloaded at https://www.basf.com/gb/en/company/news-and-media/Press-photos.html