Upper-secondary students share their knowledge and enthusiasm with 5th graders.
It’s the last Tuesday in October late in the afternoon at Grenaa Gymnasium. The day’s lessons for high school students are over, but there is activity in one of the laboratories, and the atmosphere is lively.
A group of mini-chemists, some of them in full or partial Halloween costumes, are hard at work. Words like chemistry, states of matter, and solid are written on the board, and there are molecular models on the lectern.
Around a few tables, there’s a kind of domino game based on the periodic table with all the elements. And after the popcorn break, they experiment with water and oil – the mini-chemists observe with their own eyes how the oil forms a layer on top of the water. Now, why is that?
Science Club for children and young volunteers
Every Tuesday afternoon after school, a group of 5th graders from different schools in Djursland explore their fascination with natural sciences together with four high school students.
‘In other words, the local branch of the nation wide Videnskabsklubben ( Science Club) is in full swing again.
This year, it’s four 2nd-year students who are running the activities. Arvin Shikh Othman, Marica Abildskov Lind, Frida Bertelsen, Thallia Dagmar Kristiansen are in the same class in Grenaa Gymnasium’s STX biotechnology line. This means they have an interest in natural sciences and are studying biology, chemistry, and mathematics at an advanced level.
Marica can understand children who find natural sciences exciting. “When I was a child, I thought experiments in laboratories were cool,” she says.
Marica is also impressed by the young students. “They ask good questions, things you have to think about afterward.”
Arvin has a similar experience: “They see things I’ve never thought of before. It’s great to share an interest with children,” she says.
Lab Coats and Safety Glasses
In the Science Club, they mimic the way real researchers work. This means they have to formulate hypotheses, conduct experiments, collect data, and document everything in their laboratory journals.
Real researchers, as we know, wear lab coats in the laboratory, so mini-researchers do the same. And when they do experiments, they put on safety glasses.
“But we only work with completely safe chemicals,” Marica assures. “For example, yesterday, it was water and cooking oil, and one of the next times, we’re going to turn the filling of diapers into slime.”
Becoming prepared for the task
Frida says that their biology teacher told them about the opportunity to lead the Science Club in Grenaa. “So we signed up, and we attended a course in Odense to get tips and tricks on how to teach children. It was with a lot of students from other high schools. It was a good experience.”
“It’s enjoyable to do experiments with children and maybe inspire them to choose natural sciences someday,” says Frida.
Arvin adds, “You can see that they think it’s super cool. I like the idea of being a role model. There’s a bond that forms between us, between young people and children. And it was even more enjoyable yesterday because they were dressed up, and they gave us a hug when it was over,” she says.
What is Videnskabsklubben?
Videnskabsklubben is a Non Profit Organization established in 2017 and funded by the Novo Nordisk Foundation among others. Its purpose is to enable children to have science as a leisure acitivity in the same way as sports or music. Accordingly, the approach is playful and experimental. In 2023 Videnskabsklubben has branches i 41 towns in Denmark.