8 April 2011

School students across the globe will explore one of our most critical resources as part of the world’s largest science experiment, with a UQ lecturer leading the project in Australia.

Co-chair of the Global Water Experiment and School of Education lecturer Dr Tony Wright said the study aimed to bolster enthusiasm for chemistry among school-aged children.

Students will conduct experiments that will allow them to learn about the properties of water and the role chemistry plays in issues of water quality and purification.

“It’s going to get data from students around the world and right across the phases of schooling,” Dr Wright said.

“Primary students will be exposed to some of the properties of water, and then much more sophisticated experiments will be done in senior high school.”

Students are able to enter their results in an online database, allowing them to share, analyse and compare the data.

“The results themselves probably won’t be of sufficient provision to be used in scientific experiments, but they should give a very good picture of the qualities of water around the world,” Dr Wright said.

The United Nations has declared 2011 the International Year of Chemistry, making it the ideal starting point for the Global Water Experiment.

The Global Water Experiment was launched on World Water Day (March 22), with students from Graceville State School in Brisbane among the first study participants.

Dr Wright encouraged teachers to visit the Global Water Experiment website and register their classes.

“Over the next few months, we want to build up a large volume of data which will be celebrated at a big closing ceremony for the International Year of Chemistry in Brussels in December,” he said.

The Global Water Experiment is run through a partnership with UNESCO and the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry.

Media: Dr Wright (07 3365 6634, tony.wright@uq.edu.au) or Penny Robinson at UQ Communications (07 3365 9723, penny.robinson@uq.edu.au)