Be a STaR, live chemistry!
Photos: Young researchers at the interactive STaR laboratory at the TGM school in Vienna
Photos: © GFKT
The STaR interactive laboratory for children at the TGM in Vienna, Austria has extended its range with three new workshops on the topics of recycling, the environment and 3D printing.
As of now, children aged between 11 and 14 can let their enthusiasm for natural sciences and technology run free during three STaR program (Science, Technology and Research, see also www.star-chemie.at) interactive workshops and get to the bottom of exciting questions by means of hands-on experiments. As a result, the children will become recycling experts, experience the printing of 3D objects at first hand and, in a fictitious environmental crime story, and track down a polluter by means of scientific processes.
Knowledge communication through experimentation
The program at the TGM (School of Technology) in Vienna deals with topics of social relevance that include plastics recycling, the significance of clean water and air, and new technologies such as the 3D printing of plastics.
In order to further the discourse surrounding these matters, the STaR program offers children and school classes an opportunity to carry out related experiments in order that they obtain a grasp of these issues in the truest sense of the word.
During this process, knowledge transfer takes place virtually by itself, as the children test solutions independently and through their observations improve in a self-reliant manner. Experiment-related motivation and enjoyment are thereby generated automatically and also form the central focus of the workshops. Above all, these help the children to deal with modern topics in a playful manner and relaxed atmosphere. “The natural curiosity of the children is thus initially awoken and subsequently they learn more willingly and effectively,” Karl Reischer, the TGM director is convinced.
The three new workshops on the topics of environmental technology, recycling and modern technologies such as 3D printing and energy generation supplement the existing program, which is based on self-produced films using starch and splendid, self-made synthesized color.
While some of the children solve a case of environmental criminality using nature scientific methodology, in the “PolyMEER – plastics recycling” workshop, others receive an opportunity to recycle a diversity of materials themselves and learn more about the responsible use of resources, especially with regard to the handling of plastics. The “Magic of Technology” workshop allows the creative, computerized design of the children’s own models, which are subsequently produced using 3D printing and can then be taken home. In this regard, creativity is subject to virtually no limits and during the printing of the personal designs, the children can explore energy generation in detail using self-made, organic solar cells.
Industry is looking for young Talent
The fact that the encouragement of an interest in the natural sciences among children is important is also clearly demonstrated by the support of the STaR program by industry. Indeed, amongst other matters, securing a flow of young talent for its branch is a major issue for Borealis. As Austria’s leading supplier of base chemicals and plastics, and the main sponsor of the STaR program, Borealis regards the furtherance of young people as one of its responsibilities. “We have been supporting initiatives in the educational field for a number of years”, Mark Garrett, Borealis Chief Executive, explains. “Moreover, social welfare organizations and local projects also represent a significant factor in our sponsoring activities. Via our commitment, we wish to make a worthwhile contribution to a conscious approach to resources and the environment, and arouse the enthusiasm of younger generations for technology. Through the support of the STaR program, we have made a start where future potential is to be found, namely among children and school classes. Because in the years to come, our society will continue to require trained specialists, who will work on innovative solutions for a more sustainable and better future with both conviction and a sense of gratification.” In order to raise the effectiveness of its sponsoring activities and orientate them to the greatest possible extent in the direction of the sustainability strategy, Borealis focuses on projects in three areas, which are supported by the Borealis Social Fund:
- Education and social integration
- Water and hygiene facilities (Water for the World)
- Resource efficiency and the prevention of plastic waste in the seas and oceans
Direct registrations for the workshops are possible at www.star-chemie.at.
For further information please contact:
External Communications Manager
Tel.: +43 1 22 400 772 (Vienna, Austria)
STaR Program Manager
Tel.: +43 1 33 126 301 (Vienna, Austria)