CSG Associate Working to get More Children Interested Science
BASF Corporation, the North American affiliate of global chemicals producer BASF SE, and a CSG Associate Program member, offers an education program to encourage STEAM learning called Kids’ Lab.
STEAM, which is an acronym for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, are fields of study that have seen 70 percent job growth since 1990, according to the Pew Research Center, which is outpacing the overall US job growth.
Kids’ Lab was created to raise students' interest in chemistry by providing safe, engaging hands-on experiments for kids ages 4-12. The first Kids’ Lab was started by BASF in Germany, where the company’s global headquarters is located, more than 20 years ago.
“BASF brings Kids’ Lab into the community to inspire future scientists to pursue a career in STEAM,” said Molly Borst, Manager of Science Education for BASF. Kids’ Lab was first offered in the U.S. in 2010 at Liberty Science Center, an interactive science museum, located in New Jersey near the company’s North American headquarters. The lab was offered as a free weekend program for families.
Students that participate in Kid’s Lab are given a backpack with safety glasses, apron, notebook and pencil. Participants then conduct an interactive hands-on experiment. Experiment topics include water chemistry, chromatography and polymers, to name a few. Young scientists especially like the Kids’ Lab experiments that allow them to formulate a polymer of some sort—slime or hair gel—to take home. Upon conclusion, students receive a certificate of completion.
“Chemistry is cool and fun to experiment,” said a Kids’ Lab participant during National Chemistry Week on a BASF YouTube video. “And I made this (jar of slime) because of chemistry and it is pretty awesome.”
The success and popularity of the program has quickly grown and expanded to other museums and science centers in New Jersey, North Carolina, Texas, Michigan, Ohio, Louisiana. Kids’ Lab is also offered in Canada and Mexico. Altogether, more than 150,000 children have participated in North America.