Taking grandparents and grandchildren in a time machine to relive happy childhood memories via this year’s theme – Grandpa’s Secret Garden
Covestro Grandparent-Grandchild Science Camp Makes a Big Comeback After the Pandemic
l The grandparents and grandchildren all felt this camp had created happy memories for them*
l Grandchildren all expressed that this camp meant they got to know their grandparents better*
l 85% of the grandparents indicated this camp was the first time in their life they had ever done a science experiment
l The oldest grandparent in this year’s camp is 90 years of age
Today, August 27, is Grandparents’ Day in Taiwan, and is also the main event day of the 2023 Covestro Grandparent-Grandchild Science Camp. This year’s camp received more than 850 applications, and has been held on August 12th, August 19th, and August 26 to August 27 at Changhua county, PingTung county and Taipei city respectively. All the local city and county governments at each camp location have served as co-organizers. A total of 60 Covestro employees and 13 social workers from the Department of Social Affairs have served a total of 296 grandparents and grandchildren at 11 sessions in four days.
The success of the previous camp’s theme, “Grandma’s Magic Kitchen”, meant this year’s camp, “Grandpa’s Secret Garden”, attracted the participation of 5% more elderly people who had never taken part in a science experiment. This means 85% of the grandparents this year had never done an experiment before in their life. After the camp activities, all the grandchildren agreed that cooperating with their grandparents to complete the experiments had made them realize that grandpa and grandma are much more knowledgable than they ever imagined!*
If you want to make a really big soap bubble, should you blow the bubble slowly or quickly? This was the question put to grandparents and grandchildren when the camp began. Grandparents and grandchildren were then invited to the stage to demonstrate their ideas and see if they had the correct answer. This meant the camp started with a great deal of laughter! Next came the bouncing bubble experiment. This required each grandchild to work with their grandparent to bounce the bubble as many times as they could on their hands. So far, the highest record is 25 bounces from a grandpa and grandson from Pintung! The secret weapon behind this magic is the cotton gloves worn by participants. The soft cotton fibers act like springs, buffering the force of hitting the bubbles and allowing the bubbles to bounce on the hand.
The camp also used an interesting and easy-to-understand way to explain the science behind a tiny, eye-catching polymer ball filled with water. Grandparents and grandchildren were invited to the stage for a gift exchange, serving as an analogy for the ion exchange between sodium and calcium that occurs when sodium alginate is added to calcium lactate. The calcium ions trigger cross-linking within the sodium alginate, resulting in the formation of a soft and flexible gel that efficiently retains water. Edible dyes were added to that gel to create tiny, colored water balls. Then grandparents and grandchildren worked on a gardening project by putting the colorful balls in a conical flask and inserting a plant – the polymer balls will release water to the plant. This was the most popular project among the participants this year as they could take the plants home and continue growing them together.
One grandpa said emotionally: “Thank you, Covestro! I’ll definitely take good care of this scientific gardening work completed by my granddaughter and myself, because it represents such happy memories for both of us. I’ll remember this special moment for the rest of my life.” His granddaughter hugged him and said: “Although Grandpa and I don’t live together, whenever I visit Grandpa’s house in the future I’ll definitely go and visit this little plant too!”
Another grandfather expressed: “I’m really happy to join this camp. It not only enhances the friendship between grandparents and grandchildren, but also encourages elderly people like me to use our brains in an interesting way. This is the first time in my life I’ve done experiments. I think such activities will help to slow down the onset of dementia for the elderly.”
Another granddaughter said shyly to her Grandma: “I really didn’t expect Grandma could be so clever! You can even guide me to complete science experiments – thank you!”
Wan-An Chiang, Mayor of Taipei City, said: “Children are our future, and our elders are a treasure trove of wisdom. This Covestro Grandparent-Grandchildren Science Camp, which was co-organized by the Taipei City Government, is not only fun but also imparts valuable scientific knowledge. While encouraging lifelong learning for the elderly, it can also nurture the relationship between grandparents and grandchildren.”
“Aging and inclusion are global trends. I am really happy to see that county and city governments are working together with Covestro,” said Axel Limberg, Chief Representative & Executive Director of German Trade Office Taipei. “Covestro Grandparent-Grandchild Science Camp allows grandparents and grandchildren not only to get to know each other better but also narrows the generation gap at the same time!"
“Covestro Grandparent-Grandchild Science Camp has been designed with Diversity, Equity and Inclusion in mind,” said Dr. Carsten Wildebrand, Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan. “We are happy to see different generations gather together to experience the wonderful and interesting scientific phenomena around us. These activities can create memories that may take root in their hearts and never fade.”
30% of the grandparents in this camp can only communicate in Taiwanese or Hakka. According to the results of the after-event questionnaire,* Covestro volunteers who can speak in different dialects were appointed. Furthermore, an illustrated step-by-step activity book was provided to meet different participants’ needs in terms of languages or education level, all these were highly praised by 95% of the participants.*
Covestro Grandparent-Grandchild Science Camp was jointly designed by Covestro Taiwan together with Golden Tripod Award winner Professor Liang-Rong Hsu and his team member Tiffany Chen. Commissioner Shu-Wen Yao of Taipei City Government‘s Department of Social Welfare, the Heads of Department of Social Affairs in Changhua and Pingtung Counties, Lan-Hsin Wang and Mei-Shu Liu, Chief Representative & Executive Director of German Trade Office Taipei, Axel Limberg, Deputy Officer for Economic Affairs of German Institute Taipei, Alex Hsu, and Managing Director of Covestro Taiwan, Dr. Carsten Wildebrand, all participated in this year’s camp and interacted with grandparents and grandchildren.
*Data source is the after-event survey of the camp on August 12 and August 19, 2023.
Covestro is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of high-quality polymer materials and their components. With its innovative products, processes and methods, the company helps enhance sustainability and the quality of life in many areas. Covestro supplies customers around the world in key industries such as mobility, building and living, as well as the electrical and electronics sector. In addition, polymers from Covestro are also used in sectors such as sports and leisure, cosmetics and health, as well as in the chemical industry itself.
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