Tiniest scholars visit AIBN facility

13 Apr 2016

Over two days, more than 50 kindergarten children and caregivers got an up-close glimpse of science at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at UQ.

Hosted by the Centre for Microscopy & Microanalysis facility housed at AIBN, the children from the neighbouring Campus Kindergarten got a completely different look at the world around them.

Using the equipment available to them through their everyday work, CMM Acting Director Associate Professor Kevin Jack said the facility endeavoured to provide the children with an insight into science that they understood, enjoyed and were inspired by.

“It was really good to see them so excited by the science and technology we have here, and it’s really important to get young people engaging with science and seeing how it plays a part in the world,” Dr Jack said.

“Using a benchtop electron microscope, we were able to magnify things like the mandible and hairs on an ant by hundreds of times so they could see details like those for the first time.

“We also used a demonstration with liquid nitrogen to freeze things like leaves and fruit to show how the state of materials can change.”

Campus Kindergarten teachers Yvonne Paujik and Claire Carter-Jones said the children were enthused by their lab experiences. It sparked an interest in exploration and investigation within their kindergarten environment with the establishment of a science corner, replicating what they had seen by taking photos of insects.

“Being able to see experiments in real life was the highlight of this excursion, and we are all very proud of how well children responded to the experiments,” Ms Paujik said.

“Our children demonstrated their activeness and confidence through their inquisitiveness in asking thoughtful questions to the scientists.”

AIBN Director Professor Alan Rowan stressed that the visits highlighted the importance of community engagement and education in science.

“As an institute we are dedicated to using science to create better outcomes for society, primarily through the impact of our work, but it is also vitally important to inspire the next generation,” Professor Rowan said.

“It is heartening that the children had been inspired to imitate what they had seen in the lab, and that is the best indication that their visit has piqued their scientific curiosity about the world around them, and left a lasting impression on them.”