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Bringing science to life

ReAção means reaction. And that’s what a science education project in Brazil aims to stimulate in the minds of children and young school students. The project has been running since 2006 in elementary schools in Guaratinguetá, a city in the state of São Paulo, where BASF’s largest production site in South America is located. It aims to help students see for themselves how science and chemistry work in everyday life.

In the past, science education in Brazil was very theory-based. One reason for this is that teachers lacked the training and equipment to carry out practical experiments. Developed by BASF in partnership with the Guaratinguetá city authorities and implemented by Fernand Braudel Institute, ReAção tackles this problem by providing the training and support teachers need to bring practical experimentation into the classroom.

The project is run as a series of after-school workshops that are popular with students, teachers and parents alike. One teacher who has seen the benefits is Débora Valéria dos Reis Pereira, from the Dr. Guilherme Eugênio Filippo Fernandes School. “Students enjoy the workshops because the content is presented in a different way,” she explains. “During lessons, they make connections with the content they learned in the workshops.”

The teacher training courses are run by local organizations. With BASF’s support, they develop the experiments and provide the material needed for each activity. “We focus on programs that stimulate interest in science and con tribute to the intellectual and personal development of children and young people,” says Flavia Tozatto, Sustainability Manager at BASF in Brazil. The results of the project, which are evaluated by the Chemistry Institute of the University of São Paulo, show that students who take part not only improve their scientific literacy but also perform better at school generally.

Since 2006, every year, about 7,200 students from 32 schools have participated in the program, which also includes training for 500 teachers per year. Stimulating children to become interested in the world of chemistry is at the heart of ReAção. “We are sharing knowledge, our greatest asset,” says Tozatto.

A chance to learn

Close-up of female students at Shri Venkataramana Higher Primary School

Children are the agents of change