More than 50 kindergarten children and caregivers got an up-close glimpse of science at the Australian Institute for Bioengineering and Nanotechnology at the University of Queensland during a two day visit.

Hosted by the Centre for Microscopy and Microanalysis facility 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’s 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 those details 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 laboratory experiences. It sparked the children’s interest in exploration and investigation within their kindergarten environment, and they have now established a science corner, replicating what they had seen by taking their own 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 the 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 emphasised that the visits highlighted the importance of community engagement and education in science.

“At AIBN 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 were 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.”

AIBN is committed to community engagement activities to promote the value and importance of its research as part of the Institute’s values to develop scientific advancements for the benefit of society.

Media: Darius Koreis, d.koreis@uq.edu.au, +61 7 3346 3962, +61 427 148 187.

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