Kerala’s first-ever kids Lab "PILOT" project launched in the capital
The PILOT PROJECT of Kerala’s first-ever Kids Lab was launched in the capital on Thursday, with the aim of harnessing scientific temperament among children. Inaugurated on the occasion of National Science Day, this is a six-day project where students will have -- the opportunity to explore and understand chemistry through interactive learning.
A chemistry lab has been set up at the Kerala State Science and Technology Museum (KSSTM) by BASF India Ltd, the transnational chemical company with which the Department of Science & Technology, Kerala State Industrial Development Corporation (KSIDC) and KSSTM are associating for the project.
“The project had been mooted at ‘Emerging Kerala’ last year,” said Education Minister P K Abdu Rabb during the inaugural ceremony. “The plans are at an exploratory stage at present and based on the feedback, a permanent lab may be set up later.” The experiments set up for the pilot period aim to focus on “explaining the role of chemistry in building a sustainable future” and remove students’ fear of chemistry, according to Prasad Chandran, chairman, BASF India. The experiments set up in the lab include one on ‘Water purification’ which shows how filtration systems work. Another one called the ‘Lotus effect’ experiment shows how textiles treated with a particular chemical product, a trade secret they refused to divulge, kept them from absorbing water and also remain stain-free.
“The water will run-off like that from a lotus leaf surface and won’t be absorbed by the cloth,” explained Sharad Hardas, a member of Research and Development wing of BASF. “Similarly, stains like ketchup won’t stay, so water can be conserved while washing clothes.” Other experiments included ‘Hair gel’ and ‘Colour lock’, where students learn to make hair gel and how to prevent bleeding of colour with a colour fixer that fixes dye molecules to the cloth.
Around 1,500 students of classes 8 and 9 from all over the state are participating and will be allotted to batches comprising 50 members. Each batch has two-and-a-half hours for orientation and experiments. Students from various BEd colleges are mentors for the students in the labs. The pilot study will be on till March 5 at the KSSTM. BASF Kids Lab was introduced in India in 2004. Students of Classes 8 and 9 who want to participate in the Kids Lab can register on the KSIDC website www.ksidc.org. The training courses, which will be on from March 1 to 5, will start at 4 pm every day.