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Liquid rainbows: British color researchers meet Norwegian children

The Research Council of Norway

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IMAGE: Curious Norwegian pre-schoolers learn about color from British scientists. view more

Credit: Sidsel F. Backmann

Language is no barrier when British researchers from Nottingham Trent University conduct a science workshop for Norwegian children. Colour is the focus, and in the course of 45 minutes, the children experience both liquid rainbows and milk that explodes into a range of colours.

Norway's Forskningsdagene 2007 (National Science Week in Norway 2007) has, in the past few days, been visited by two scientists from Nottingham Trent University, who've called on kindergartens and preschools in the Oslo and Bærum areas. The project they've brought to Norway deals with colour. Using a blend of demonstrations and experiments, they give the children a little tour into the world of colour. The research workshop includes, to mention but a few activities, water that changes colour as the children watch, multi-coloured flames, pearls that shift colour, exploding milk and liquid rainbows.

Although the activities are self-explanatory, Ali Mealing and Mark Crowley taught themselves the names of the colours in Norwegian, in addition to a couple of simple questions. And that's all that was needed. Children in the first group communicated splendidly with the British scientists. As an extra bonus, each kindergarten that hosted the research workshop received a little Robin Hood teddy bear, which represents the mascot of the Nottingham Trent University.

Until now, Forskningsdagene has not had a great deal of research-based activities tailored for this age group. "This is why it's exciting that the European development project that we participate in contributes so that we can try something new," says Anne Riiser, National Project Manager for Forskningsdagene.

The British scientists come from a department at the university in Nottingham that's called CELS - Centre for Effective Learning in Science.

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The European development project WONDERS is a collaboration between different research festivals. Twenty-four European countries and thirty-one science festivals exchange activities so that inspiration and new ideas find their way across boarders. Earlier this year, Norway sent the Jelly-Man Code (DNA activity) to the science festival Paris Montagne in Paris, and Forskningsdagene is now hosting visitors from Science and Technology Week in Great Britain.

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