School service unit blows up Congress kids – University of Copenhagen

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26 June 2014

School service unit blows up Congress kids

Show chemistry

Children shouldn't be bored just because their grown-ups insist on going to science festivals. In order to prevent death by boredom, the operators of the SCIENCE School Service Unit presented a wild and wonderful chemistry show at the festival "Science in the City" which took place in Copenhagen from 21. to 26. June 2014.

Popular science at elitist conference

The festival came in connection with the international researchers conference "European Open Science Forum”, ESOF 2014. Here, children of all ages were invited to a wealth of colours, transformations and explosions in one of the many tents housing the  festive, folksy and above all public science festival at the abandoned grounds of the national brewery Carlsberg in Valby, Copenhagen.

Tents full of communal wow-experiences

Especially during the week-end all shows were sold out, and show-chemist Laura Teinholt Finne got the impression that the entire tent was holding it's breath at times.

"We had some really cool communal wow-experiences. But best of all were these very keen kids who came up after each show to ask questions!

Laura Teinholt Finne

Showchemist and student

SCIENCE School Service Unit

University of Copenhagen

”We had some really cool communal wow-experiences. But best of all were these very keen kids who came up after each show to ask questions", Finne explains, and continues:

”When a kid who has seen our show twice can remember every thing we've said and are all antsy because they want to tell us what they've learnt, that's a great feeling", says Finne, who studies medicinal chemistry at the University of Copenhagen, when she is not entertaining children in her part time student job with the SCIENCE School Service Unit.

Students teach entertaining science to school children

SCIENCE School Service Unit is an outreach programme at University of Copenhagen which offers a range of activities presenting the latest in natural- and lifesciences research to primary school pupils.

All tutors in the SCIENCE School Service Unit are university students who are a few years along in their studies. Teachers from the unit usually meet kids at their own schools or invite them to the labs at the University but for the festival the operators had planned a show sufficiently spectacular to compete with the many other activities at Science in the City. 

On one side: Nobel laureates. On the other: Explosions

While Nobel laureates and international leaders within research, innovation and politics were discussing the future course for global research and innovation at the conference the unit presenters Kristina Rebecca Seager, Bolette Arndt Stougaard, Laura Teinholt Finne, Signe Baggesen, Mette Lützen Hoff Kjeldsen, Zeina Maroun og Kira Røpke were busy introducing hundreds of children to exciting demonstrations experiements involving exploding hydrogen balloons and smoking flash powder.

Show chemists took their spectacle on the road

In order to attract as large and varied an audience as possible a number of the presenters had developed a bicycle borne show for the days preceeding the main event. Here they performed street chemistry for passers by at  a number of location including the town hall square.