Children get a ‘white Christmas’ thanks to chemistry

Jars of fun: Radahkrishnan and the children with the snow globes that they made at Tech Dome Penang. — LIM BENG TATT/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: They glued a miniature pine tree to the underside of the lid of a small jar, filled it with glycerine, and added water to increase its viscosity.

A pinch of glitter dust was then added to the liquid mixture before the jar was closed and sealed tight, and voila! – snow globes were produced by some 250 underprivileged children who attended the ‘Chemistry Christmas’ workshop at Tech Dome Penang.

The workshop was held to enable the children, from eight organisations here, explore the fun side of chemistry, and one is held every year.

As part of their excursion, the children also tried making artificial snow by blending various chemicals.

These were among the hands-on activities they tried out, besides singing and various games, as well as a tour around the science discovery centre to try out the various interactive exhibits.

Ramakrishna Ashrama Orphanage executive committee member (education) N. Radahkrishnan, who brought 11 children to the centre, said it was the first time the children had experienced such a programme.

“Most of them are orphans or raised by a single parent, hence they are not as fortunate as others.

“Bringing them here isn’t just about going on an outing, but about having a whole new experience that is different from the tuition lessons they have at home,” he said.

SelflessTogether, a non-governmental organisation that focuses on providing free education to underprivileged children with no access to public schools, brought the biggest group, at 78 participants.

Its founder Lim Yew Lyn said most of the children are refugees from Indonesia and Myanmar who lack formal education and didn’t have any exposure to science.

“Although we provide the children, who are aged between six and 18, with a basic education, they’ve never experienced a science workshop.

“Many of them are intrigued by the experiments and have learnt something valuable,” she added.

Tech Dome Penang chief executive officer Khoo Boo Wooi said the four-hour programme was held to cultivate interest among children in the field of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

“The children and 30 teachers were invited to participate to learn about science during the festive season,” he said.

The other schools and organisations that took part were SJK(T) Perai, SJK(C) Sum Min, Salvation Army Penang, Peace Children Care Centre, Penang Shan Children’s Home and Shan Children’s Home Taman Inderawasih.

The participants were each presented with a Christmas hat and treated to a fast-food meal to liven up the celebration.

Also present was Tech Dome Penang senior marketing and communications manager Oun Sui Leng.

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