Every year, young researchers embark on an adventure-filled journey to the Science College in Overbach near Jülich for the so-called ExperiMINT little esearchers' club, a program run by Achenbach Buschhutten in cooperation with the Friedrich von Bodelschwingh primary school to promote the study of STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) subjects (known as MINT in German). Every year since 2010, tech-savvy schoolchildren have traveled to the College to take part in the two-day program, where they discover the secrets of the world of science under expert instruction. “We spent the whole day doing research! It was very, very exhausting – but exciting.”
Each year, a different topic is discussed in the classroom, followed by real life experiments. Past themes have included fuel cell technology as an alternative form of energy and robotics. This year, the students are learning the basics of chemistry. Some of them have already started planning for the future: “When I grow up, I want to build really large robots.”
The annual research camp in Julich is part of the ExperiMINT Researchers' Club and consists of three modules:
- Large “class boxes” on important scientific phenomena such as building bridges, floating and sinking, etc., serve as teaching aids in the new school laboratory, which was constructed in collaboration with Achenbach for science instruction.
- Instructors are trained on how to incorporate the class boxes into their lesson plans in a teacher training course held at the University of Münster.
- The research camp is the highlight of the year for a group of especially gifted or enthusiastic young researchers.
As Galileo once said: “You cannot teach a man anything, you can only help him find it within himself.” The project is aimed at sparking an early interest and passion for the sciences and scientific research.
It's a friendship that creates knowledge!