BASF and the Louisiana Art & Science Museum (LASM) recently launched their first-ever virtual Kids’ Lab program. The collaboration allows local students in the Greater Baton Rouge region to adhere to COVID-19 safety precautions while still participating in a virtual version of BASF’s award-winning Kids’ Lab, a hands-on opportunity for students to explore connections between science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) concepts and their world.
“BASF’s Kids’ Lab has been offered to each Ascension Parish fourth grade in-person for 10 years, and we are thrilled that LASM can continue to provide this programming virtually,” said Sarah Haneline, Workforce Development Manager at BASF’s Geismar site. “Virtual Kids’ Lab supports teachers in the classroom, helps build students’ understanding of how science impacts their everyday lives and connects how an interest in science and technology can lead to fun and rewarding careers.”
As part of a decade-long annual commitment from BASF, the Kids’ Lab program offers all 2,250 fourth-grade students throughout Ascension Parish the opportunity to learn about creating chemistry and STEM careers. Previously, students traveled to LASM to participate in in-person learning and hands-on science experiments. Now, students receive experiment supplies in their socially distant classrooms and video conference with LASM to conduct “The Energy Around Us,”, an electricity-focused activity that meets state education standards. Each student who participates receives a Kids’ Lab tote bag with a lab apron and safety glasses.
“Ascension Public Schools is grateful for partners like BASF, who join us to provide high-quality experiences for our students,” said Ascension Parish Superintendent David Alexander. “Their generosity, creativity, and innovative thinking allowed us to overcome the challenges associated with this unusual year where field trips are not possible by providing a unique way to engage students in a virtual lab. These types of partnerships that support student learning are essential to our pursuit of excellence and are another example of the special relationships and mutual support that exist in this great community. Thank you, BASF!”
Over the last ten years, BASF has donated nearly $1 million to LASM supporting a wide array of STEM programming and activities for local students. Support also included targeted donations to help the museum navigate a loss of funding during COVID.
Research from the American Alliance of Museums indicates that more than a third of the nation’s accredited museums will be closed permanently because of COVID, according to Nita Mitchell, LASM’s Director of Education.
“We are truly grateful for BASF’s willingness to pivot with us and to work collaboratively to modify sponsored programs while aligning with government mandates. We appreciate BASF as a globally invested corporation with a commitment to excellence, best practices and genuine compassion in service to our community. This partnership makes a difference in the lives of young people through STEM education, workforce development and community engagement,” said Mitchell.
BASF’s STEM Education programs support its larger workforce development strategy in the region to build a pipeline of future, local talent. For more information on STEM Education at BASF, visit BASF.us/STEM or follow us on Facebook.