SCIENCE: Central Highlands Science Centre general manager Gai Sypher.
SCIENCE: Central Highlands Science Centre general manager Gai Sypher.

Science Centre keeping STEM passion alight

THE Central Highlands Science Centre may be physically closed, but it remains passionate about promoting the intellectual growth of young science aficionados.

To counter the shut doors and cancellation of regular school holiday exhibits, Science Centre workers have been posting experiments online for kids to try at home.

General manager Gai Sypher said that putting activities on Facebook allowed all children in the Central Highlands to participate in “knowing and growing with science”.

“It’s to keep the kids engaged and to let people know the centre hasn’t closed permanently,” she said.

“We’re still here to support the kids of our region. We’re the most remote STEM science centre in Australia.”

Three or four experiments are posted a week and require only common household items. Each demonstrates a scientific principle, such as the effect of gravity or the combination of bi-carb soda and vinegar.

“Our whole goal is to inspire kids to engage in STEM learning,” Ms Sypher said, “and hopefully to encourage them in a career path in the sciences and the professions that rural communities lack.”

The Science Centre, 25 years old this year, conducts programs for students during the school term. It will shift these programs online for Term 2.

“We’re going into an online classroom based on a model being used by schools,” Ms Sypher said.

“Kids will be able to get a science kit and watch videos as to how to assemble the experiment.

“If there’s a big take-up on that, we may use both methods of delivery in the future. We’re here for the long haul.”