WES creates a great chemical reaction from the Scouts

The Scout Association (Scouts) is a fantastic organisation providing young people with a huge range of interesting opportunities and experiences. The children, from Beavers through to Explorers, get to see and do things far beyond what the school curriculum offers or even everyday life.

This was certainly the case last month, when 18 excited children from the Basingstoke Air Scout Cubs visited WES’s headquarters where they were given a hands-on and immersive experience into the world of chemical dosing.

Scout leader and WES employee Anna Hansen’s involvement in the Cub Scouts is well known and respected by the team at WES and a few weeks ago, she went to WES engineer Nick Ridgway, to ask if she could borrow some tools for a Scouts’ DIY evening.

This sparked an idea. What if they could bring the children to the workshop? After a discussion with managing director, Kevin Wheeler, the idea quickly evolved.Scouts

Nick says: “We have a fantastic facility here and it was a great opportunity to bring the Scouts in for a visit. The idea was to provide a practical, relatable experience and to illustrate how vital chemical dosing is to our lives.”

Creating awareness of how both the environment and our health are impacted daily by preventing serious illnesses with chemical dosing, was an important part of the evening. “We started off by discussing the diseases you could get from drinking unclean water including typhoid, gastroenteritis and cholera and how sodium hypochlorite kills germs preventing illness and death. We then went on to explain about chemical dosing and how much, or indeed how little you need, to clean the water.”

“What was great about the whole evening”, says Anna, “is that the team made the whole chemical dosing experience completely interactive. We discussed everything from how water gets into our houses to how much chlorine is needed to clean the water we drink. The kids were fascinated to know that just an inch in the distance between Basingstoke to Reading is required to kill the germs in the water and that too much chlorine could also kill.”

Anna adds: “The kids were enthralled. It was fun to see their reaction to the pretend sewage water concocted using tea and puddle water which had a nice scum on top. Children are drawn to dirt and grime and it can bring science to life. Meanwhile, fake sea water was concocted as a discussion point when discussing the marine tank in reception. This also grabbed their attention as they could easily interpret the impact unclean water has on fish and water life and the need for correct dosing.”

Nick goes on to say: “We also did a demonstration of a dosing system using 2 pumps – one for water and one for squash. With the press of a button we had the correct dosage of squash to water. The children loved this.”

Other team members including projects support engineer Simon, and apprentice workshop technician Shannon, demonstrated assembly using three elbows and three pipes, then let the Cubs have a go themselves at making something to take home. Sponsors Georg Fischer Piping Systems kindly supplied the elbow pipes and B & D Plastics all the brushes for gluing.

Finally, the evening was wrapped up with a Q & A and the children were bursting with dozens of fantastic questions which just goes to show how enthusiastic they were about the whole experience.

Kevin Wheeler concludes: “It was so refreshing to see this through the eyes of the children, and I have to say a huge thanks to everyone involved to make it such a fun STEM learning experience.”