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Published September 25th 2015
Fun for your Bright Spark
Bright Sparks Science Club is a bright spot on the map of children's activities in Adelaide. It caters for kids aged between six and fifteen and goes a long way to entertaining their parents as well! Already, there are close to 800 members in this relatively new club.
Look for the Bright Sparks logo
It's a critical time for kids to have access to science - this is when they get 'hooked'. It gives them a vital start on the road to a career in the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) world.
With the demise of the almost iconic Double Helix Club run by the CSIRO, parents of children with an interest in exploration of things scientific could have been feeling seriously lost and deserted.
The University of Adelaide was on to a winner as soon as it stepped up with this fabulous project. It cleverly engaged the former coordinator of Double Helix, well-known and loved science communicator, award-winning Rona Sakko, to run Bright Sparks.
And 'spark' it does!
Members have access to over sixty fun, interactive and educational events each year across all areas of science and technology. Many of them are tried and true and Rona is always on the look out for new and engaging events to add to the excitement. Sometimes, they're organized for a particular age group, at other times, they're fun for the whole family.
Did you know that bees don't see flowers in the same way that we do?
Membership of the club is great value, with a family membership available f or multiple children. Membership runs from 1 March (when ALL memberships fall due) until the end of February, with 50% discount when less than half of the membership term remains.
See the website for membership details and join up on-line or at events.
Events are usually open to members only, but as a taster, a few events per year are open to non-members, when vacancies allow. Email Bright Sparks to find out about non-member events.
There is a charge associated with most events, to cover the costs of presenters, venue hire and resources. There is a conscious effort to keep charges to a minimum and there are occasional free events.
science shows science at its best, wowing and entertaining with surprises and spectacular reactions and phenomena
robotics and electronics workshops yes! Make your own bits and pieces!
behind the scenes tours some of Adelaide's best known landmarks and facilities are driven by science, so you can see just what 'makes them tick'
hands-on experiments in forensic science dare we say: the next generation of CSI?
astronomy viewing and planetarium visits star-gazing is always in demand
wildlife up close and personal petting a python, feeding a falcon perhaps?
field trips visits to faraway places, could it be a wildlife safari or even a rocket range?
science skills workshops the future of our society depends heavily on science, so you can be one step ahead of the game if your skills are polished up along the way
beach-combing yet another touch of fun sprinkled with a serious helping of science.
And, of course, during school holiday time, the event calendar at Bright Sparks explodes!
The science of slime!
In the coming school holidays, for example, during the first week, Monday's session is devoted to children aged ten and under, Tuesday's to those over ten and on Wednesday, the day is for the general public, aimed at a combination of ages.
And, just to make sure that everyone gets a chance to participate, there are three 90 minute sessions on each day, at 10am, 12:30pm and 3pm.
Science it's spooky! is perfectly timed to polish up your spooky science skills for Hallowe'en at the end of October.
There'll be loads of fun (and learning) with hands-on experiments like making magic potions, all the while tossing in a dash of alchemy (scientifically, of course!).
Be prepared to make Frankenworms, dancing ghosts, monstrous magnets, spooky optics, creaky cups, gruesome slime and you'll even get the chance to do some ghastly chemistry. Then, there'll be some super-spooky demonstrations, including flashy coloured flames and above all, brace yourself for the shudderingly scary pumpkin and eyballs!
Cost for this hair-raising experience is $15 for members, $20 for non-members. EVERYONE, adults included MUST wear closed shoes. For more details, see the website.
On Thursday, members aged 8 and over can get into GooRoo animation.
Claymation is a fun creative activity. This introductory workshop opens the door to the exciting and inspirational world of animation. Using teamwork and problem solving skills, participants create their own plasticine characters and bring them to life using the latest app technology on iPods and iPads. The workshop (of three hours) will be in three sections as you work through each step. Visit the website for more details.
To end the week, it's Salty seas and wildlife for members and their families. Travel to Victor Harbor and start at the Whale Centre for some hands-on activities checking out the differences between salt and fresh water. Experiment with water and make playdough and floating turtles.
Then, there'll be time to spend over the three floors of the Whale Centre learning about whaling history, marine threats, habitat, food sources and a whole lot more.
If you're still standing, it's off to a nearly wildlife park for koala feeding, native animals, wetland bird sanctuary and nocturnal house. Wow! What a day! More details on the website.
Bright Sparks activities (in brief) for the second week of the school holidays:
Paleontology (Tuesday 6 October) a great messy session because you get to make a plaster cast replica of a fossil
Fire station tour (Wednesday 7 October) how does science help determine the best way of fighting a fire?
Electronic reaction games (Thursday 8 October) build and program two electronic microchip projects to test reaction times
Wax works (Friday 9 October) explore the properties of wax with some cool (and hot!) experiments.
More details, including times, locations and age-groups at the website.