Dow Thailand Group, the main sponsor of the Dow Chemistry Classroom project, joined hands with partners to host the DOW-CST Award 2020-2021. The contest promotes implementation of small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques among teachers and students under the theme “Safe and Sustainable Science Experiments.” Winners received scholarships and H.R.H Princess Chulabhorn Krom Phra Srisavangavadhana’s royal plaques of honour.
The DOW-CST award has been hosted for seven consecutive years by the Dow Chemistry Classroom project, which is now in its ninth year. The initiative is a collaboration among Dow Thailand Group, the Chemical Society of Thailand, the National Science Museum, the Bureau of Academic Affairs and Educational Standards, and the Office of the Basic Education Commission, Ministry of Education. Teachers and students across the country were offered opportunities to submit their small-scale chemistry laboratory projects which promote the application of local materials in their experimental kits.
The contest was held at The Street Ratchada under strict COVID-19 preventive measures. Twenty-seven teams had been selected for the second-round online competition before the committee shortlisted eleven finalists for the onsite competition - five teams from junior high school and six teams from high school. The winning teams received 40,000-baht scholarships and royal trophies, while the 1st Runner Up and 2nd Runner Up received honour plaques as well as 20,000-baht and 10,000-baht scholarships, respectively.
In addition, the supervising teachers of the twenty-seven teams will be appointed the project’s role-model teachers and be eligible to participate in the train-the-trainer programs at the Pure and Applied Chemistry International Conference (PACCON 2022). The winning teams’ teachers will receive a royal plaque of honour from H.R.H Princess Chulabhorn Krom Phra Srisavangavadhana at the same conference on June 30th – July 1st at King Mongkut's Institute of Technology Ladkrabang.
The winner among junior high school grades is Prachinratsadornamroong School, Prachinburi, with the project ‘Zero Waste & Natural Reaction;’ the 1st Runner Up is Buntharik Wittayakhan School, Ubon Ratchathani, with the project ‘The Treasure from Water of the Field; and the 2nd Runner Up is Surawiwat School (Suranaree University of Technology), Nakhon Ratchasima, with the project ‘Metal Removal by Filtration Technique.’
The winner among high school grades is Mahidol Wittayanusorn School, Nakhon Pathom, with the project ‘Chameleons’ Reaction Monitoring with Spectroscopy’; the 1st Runner Up is Prachinratsadornamroong School, Prachinburi, with the project ‘Acid and Base Reaction Scheme’; and the 2nd Runner Up is Samsen Wittayalai School, Bangkok, with the project ‘Small-scale Chemistry Lab Kits from a Galvanic Cell’ and Pibulwitthayalai School, Lopburi, with the project ‘Paper-Based Measurement Kit for the Analysis of Sugar in Beverages.’
Supot Katetopragran, Commercial Director, Dow Thailand Group said, “As a global science materials leader, we believe that science brings about solutions to global challenges as well as innovations to uplift people’s quality of life and environment - such as decarbonisation, which is a cause of climate change and waste management. As a result, Dow values and supports STEM education to develop tomorrow’s innovators and future scientists, who will help propel society, the economy, and the environment forward in a sustainable way.”
Prof. Dr. Supa Hannongbua, President, Chemical Society of Thailand, said, “The year 2022 is recognised as the International Year of Basic Sciences for Sustainable Development in alignment with our project to promote science skills among Thai children. We encourage students to be inspired by science and apply their knowledge and experiences gained from the classroom in developing safe science projects for sustainability, using small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques. The scientific knowledge and capabilities are leveraged to produce value for Thai society, the environment, and the economy.”
Dr. Chotima Nooprick, Director, Educational Development Group for Special Talents, Office of Basic Education Commission (OBEC), stated, “The contest is an excellent recognition of 21st Century Learning Development with an aim to provide lessons in competency-based learning to respond to emerging changes. It also reforms training mechanisms and teaching professionals’ development to meet quality standards. Furthermore, all sectors are encouraged to participate in education management and organisation in compliance with the policy of the Ministry of Education - supporting students to improve their learning capabilities and to enjoy learning through creativity outside classrooms.”
Asst. Prof. Dr. Rawin Rawiwong, President, the National Science Museum (NSM), stated, “This initiative aims to promote access to science studies among Thai youth, and encourages them to creatively integrate scientific principles and techniques learned from the project into their experiments in a safe and sustainable manner. This promotes for Thai society the significance of scientific work, helping the country develop a sustainable ecosystem for the planet.”
Prof. Dr. Supawan Tantayanon, Director, Dow Chemistry Classroom Project, stated, “The contest has been a platform for teachers and students to apply and develop small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques in their experiments, using easy-to-find materials in their local areas instead of general equipment in traditional experiments. The small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques are less expensive, easier to use, timesaving, waste-free and can be used multiple times. The experiments can be conducted anywhere without using the high-cost standard laboratory, particularly during the coronavirus pandemic. Online chemistry lessons are also available for students’ safety when practicing experiments together.”
Since 2013, Dow Chemistry Classroom has been conducted to support chemistry studies with highly safe, small-scale chemistry laboratory techniques. It reduces by 2,000 times the amount of chemicals commonly used in traditional experiments, thus reducing expenses and waste. The technique also allows students to conduct self-experiments and mitigates the problem of unequal learning opportunities among children across the country. Currently, over 2,000 teachers from 1,055 schools participate in the project. They have already used small-scale chemistry laboratory kits to teach more than 300,000 students nationwide. Furthermore, the project has been widely recognised in other countries in Southeast Asia by Thai teachers, who have continuously conveyed these new teaching techniques, with an aim to deliver notable science achievements for both Thailand and ASEAN.