Kids love science. They have a natural ability to be curious and interested. They are constantly asking questions and demanding explanations for occurrences around them. Kids love to see a reaction, granted it's normally from a parent, teacher or sibling and not always positive, but at other times an explosion, a change of state or just a hint of magic is all they need.
Kids of all ages are mini scientists, watch them forage through rock pools or compare eye colour and freckles with friends, watch their brains tick over as they calculate rain caught in a rain gauge or watch a tadpole grow into a frog. Unfortunately for many grown ups the simple things around us have stopped causing a reaction within us and if we notice anything out of the ordinary these days it's normally big, loud or maybe if we're lucky it catches us in a calm and reflecting moment.
Thankfully at the CSIRO in Highett kids can be encouraged to continue to explore and investigate and do so with the aid of scientists who are as passionate about chemistry and biology as most of us are about our first coffee of the day.
The CSIRO or the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation is Australia's national science agency and one of the largest and most diverse research agencies in the world. You would hardly expect to find it located down a peaceful Bayside street but that's exactly where it is. They're a well known name to most of us with credits including Aeroguard and WIFI to name two that I am most grateful for. However their presence is felt all around us, food, animals, environment, health and sustainability.
Recently I was lucky enough to attend a school excursion at CSIRO with 26 nine year old students. With a full education program available to schools students are able to participate in simple yet interesting experiments that has them mixing, predicting, communicating, floating, dying, wondering and most importantly bouncing about like hi bounce balls the entire visit and then not wanting to leave. I saw it myself, they very clearly wanted to stay and play and research some more. And it's not surprising really when you are busy researching how much water a nappy can hold, making blue slime and creating the same reaction in rubber ducks as used in mood rings and hyper colour t shirt (don't pretend you don't know what I'm talking about!)
In fact prior to my visit the only interest I showed in science recently was Sheldon from the Big Bang Theory! But now I see the extent and the innovation and the fact that gold might just grow on gum trees and that I can find out whether Psycho or Jaws had the highest frequency scream, I'm converted. Check out their Facebook
page for so many more amazing facts and tales.
CSIRO is the place to go when your child shows a curiosity or an appreciation for all the things around them and if you have a mini scientist at your place consider a visit. With school holidays closer
than you think check out their amazing array of interesting and well sought after holiday programs that will keep your Einstein or Curie entertained, probing and predicting.
Using games and experiments programs are targeted at juniors, intermediates and seniors and run from 10-4 with pizza for lunch and morning tea provided. Little learners ages 5-6 can attend shorter sessions held in the mornings. Classes are held in numerous locations around Melbourne including Kew,
West Footscray, Glen Waverley and Highett, These holidays the littlies will focus on crystals, their shape and size and will even get to grow their own. Aswell as that they will research the best shape for a boat to move through water whilst carrying cargo. Awesome! Big kids will be able to delve into chemistry and work with chemical indicators and make their own indicator papers to take home. They don't miss out on the crystals or boats either.
Classes range in price depending if you are a Double Helix member or not but you are looking from $55-$95 a day and you can book now
. Spots are limited and classes are very highly regarded so get in quick if you want to secure a spot. Whilst your at it why not become a member of the Double Helix Club and let your kids be catapulted into the world of science. They can choose from two bi-monthly magazines packed with hands-on activities, puzzles, science news, comics and competitions. Science is certainly not for nerds or geeks anymore, science is amazing.