Scouting comes to the RSC!

16 August 2016

On Saturday the 13th of August, the RSC started off National Science week with one of our biggest outreach events ever, “The Chemistry of Scouting”. Approximately 1100 boys and girls from Scouts and Girl Guides descended on the RSC for a day of talks and fun interactive chemistry activities. The participants ranged in the morning from age 6 to 10 years, and in the afternoon from 11 to 25 years old. Some scouts came from as far afield as Wollongong, Melbourne, Yass and Bungendore, whilst most participants were from the Scouts ACT Branch.

On offer were Liquid Nitrogen Ice-cream, the Chemistry of Sunscreens, Water Quality Analysis and Water Purification laboratories, Nylon making, PVA slime and Blueprint making. There was also a display of glassblowing, talks by RSC students and other ANU research students, as well as from Professor Robyn Lucas of the National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health and Associate Professor Kieran Lim of Deakin University. More light-hearted activities included “Periodic Table Battleships” and “Cornflour Slime Pit/Firing Range”. The Molonglo Rural Fire Service came along to take the Scouts and Guides through that most elemental of chemical reactions, the Fire Triangle.

Leaders and youth members from Scouts and Guides were impressed with the knowledge, engagement and endurance of our activity volunteers. “…please tell everyone that we thought they did a fantastic job. Even in the late afternoon all your volunteers were still keen to answer any question, explain chemical reactions and let the scouts experiment. They explained everything, age appropriately. We tried to recruit some as leaders, but weren't successful”, said Susanne Gardiner, Scout Leader with Majura Mountain Scouts.

This event was funded by a grant from the National Science Week Organising Committee. We could not have run the event without the generous assistance of over 220 volunteers from within the RSC’s staff and research students, undergraduates, staff of RSES and NCEPH, the Molonglo RFS and ACT Scouting.  My thanks to all the staff, students and volunteers who helped plan, organise and deliver such a wonderful event for our youth members.

We even made the local WIN News broadcast on Monday August 15th!

Vance Lawrence
STO-Teaching Division, and
Venturer Scout Leader, Southwell Scout Group.


Credit Photo’s 1-11, James Lehane, Assistant Commissioner Northern Region, Scouts ACT.
Credit Photo’s 12-119 Corey Coppin, @Corey Coppin photography.