Science Roadshow makes a big bang

REGION - Victoria University strengthened its commitment to educating budding scientists in the region by turning their classrooms into a laboratory for a day.

Students from Marian College and Stawell Secondary College enjoyed a visit by the VU Science Roadshow, with year nine and 10 students boosting their curiosity in science in the 'Be a Chemist for a Day' Program and Year 11 and 12 students putting theory into practice using analytical instruments in the VCE Chemistry Practicals Program.

VU is taking state-of-the-art scientific equipment into the schools, including a liquid chromatograph for separating and analysing mixtures; and an ultraviolet-visible spectrophotometer to analyse samples with light absorption. The instruments were obtained through a partnership with Shimadzu Scientific Instruments.

"Instrumental chemical analysis is now an important topic within the VCE chemistry curriculum and access to analytical instrumentation is important for schools so as merge theoretical principles with hands-on experience. Unfortunately the cost of instruments means that these are not affordable by schools," VU's Dr Domenico Caridi said.

"This is an important part of the curriculum in the VCE Chemistry Practicals Program and students and their teachers will be able to put theory into practice with hands-on access to analytical instruments with experiments including the analysis of aspirin in medications and caffeine in energy drinks.

"The 'Be a Chemist for a Day Program' engages students in science via their senses where aspirin is converted into Dencorub (Deep Heat) and students can smell the change and generating electricity from lemons. This program aims to inspire students at a younger age so that they may be encouraged to pursue studies and careers in science."

Dr Caridi is keen to promote hands-on science to secondary schools students.

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