Salt is on the menu for the seventh time already at junior schools in the Northern Netherlands as the new term begins after the summer holidays. The Salt Express is on tour again, and pupils will once more make fabulous salt-crystal constructions. For six weeks, they will be real apprentice scientists and will make, observe and discover. The Salt Express and salt-crystal growing competition are an initiative of AkzoNobel and the University of Groningen. The Dagblad van het Noorden and Leeuwarder Courant newspapers are supporting this ‘salt festival’.
During these six weeks, the Salt Express will visit more than 60 schools in Groningen, Friesland and Drenthe. A salty lesson with experiments in which salt takes centre stage: that is the motto of the truck. ‘Salt continues to be a fantastic subject that stimulates the inquisitive pupil. Salt is actually in everything: language, history, geography, geology, religion and above all science’, says Theo Jurriens, or Mr Salt, from the University of Groningen.
Science has an important role in the salt-crystal growing competition: pupils design and conduct their own experiment and make observations, thus becoming acquainted with the basic skills of a scientist. They record their observations in their own ‘salt blog’. The best salter of the Northern Netherlands will be decided at the end of October. The salt blog and presentation during the final will determine the winner.
That many schools have included the salt lesson and salt-crystal growing competition in their curriculum is a testament to the success of the Salt Express. Some schools even churn out finalists: CBS Roemte in Loppersum, where the Salt Express started on Monday 25 August, is a prime example.
‘Our salt is a fantastic natural product. The Salt Express with the guest lesson in the truck highlights all aspects of salt production, and brings pupils in contact with the basic terminology of physics and chemistry’, says Fester Oosterhuis from AkzoNobel in Delfzijl. ‘And at the end of the lesson they understand that salt is more than the salt on their egg or on the road, and we hope of course to encourage them to enter a technical profession when they grow up.’
The Salt Express is one of two mobile laboratories that
, the science centre of the
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
at the University of Groningen, drives round the Netherlands . The Jouw Energie van Morgen (Your Energy Tomorrow) Truck focuses on secondary schools, providing lessons on energy.
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