The IGTP and the the Salut Alta Foundation introduce 50 youngsters to the scientific method
Researchers from the IGTP organized two laboratory sessions for 50 children aged 6 to 12 from the Fundació Salut Alta summer camp. After an introductory session from Dr Cristina Vilaplana, medical doctor and researcher and Dr Maria Rosa Sarrias, biologist and researcher, the budding scientists set to work in two laboratory sessions, staffed by research students.
In the Dilutions Laboratory groups of ten youngsters donned a lab coat and gloves and learned how to dilute coloured solutions using pipettes. There was almost total silence as everybody concentrated on their work. More lively was the "Slime Laboratory", where the groups followed a protocol to make stretchy bouncy slime from school glue, bicarbonate and contact lens solution. Between the laboratory sessions the groups did colouring sessions or relaxed and played games.
The Can Ruti Campus, where the IGTP is located is next to Badalona, a large town with various different communities. The Salut Alta is a neighbourhood that is difficult to access due to the steep terrain and unplanned building dating from the 60s and 70s. It is the starting point for many immigrant families and as such has a rich cultural mix of people, but a lack of facilities.
The Salut Alta Foundation is a local charity dedicated to providing educational and social support to vulnerable families and providing opportunities for children to participate fully in society. In July their summer camps organize activities in their centre and lots of trips out for the children and their parents to have new experiences.
All the children enjoyed the sessions and so did the adults accompanying them. "It's made a great impression," one of the educational monitors told us, "the message about science really came home to them." The scientists also gave very positive evaluations of the sessions and even those with initial reservations about dealing with 50 youngsters said they were looking forward to the next time. "It's very important to let everybody in our community know about what our work is about," Cristina Vilaplana told us. "With some simple ingredients and a lot of organization we have all had a great time and learnt a lot from each other," Maria Rosa Sarrias concluded.