New Adelaide science club highlights need for local version

test tubesBright Sparks is a fun new science club for kids aged 6-15 years created by the University of Adelaide. Club members can access “60+ great hands-on activities per year plus a host of other benefits. There’s something for every curious mind!”

This is a really nice initiative and one which it would be great to see copied by one of the local Sydney Universities. There’s a real lack of engaging science activities available in Sydney. While a number of universities and other organisations do put on various science activities the missing piece is easy access to them in one place. The ideal situation would be a science club created by a consortium of interested groups which could act as a clearing house for all the activities and, hopefully, try to facilitate a good spread.

In particular there’s a real gap for science activities aimed at teenagers. There are quite a lot of science-themed school holiday activities aimed at younger kids, but once you get past the age of 12 or so you get lost in a no-mans-land between kids activities and adult activities. That becomes starkly clear when you look at the program for the events like the Ultimo Science Festival. Paradoxically, it’s that same age-group which is most important for STEM education. It’s easy to wow little kids with the cooler parts of a science show; it is both harder and more important to offer opportunities to teenagers as they move through making decisions about higher study and careers.

So there’s a real opportunity for the universities, museums and so on to coordinate and encourage access to what’s already available, and to make a better range of activities available.

If you are in Adelaide, Bright Sparks membership is $60 for the year. For sign-up and all the details see here.

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