The Ulm University WissenSchaffer (Science Guides) are at it again! A group of students in the fields of electrical engineering and information systems technology want to inspire schoolchildren to study technical subjects. The students visit the schools, offering various lectures, courses and projects both there and on the Ulm University campus. With the help of the adolescents, for example, a weather balloon will soon be launched that will transport data and pictures from the stratosphere. Teachers can submit a request for WissenSchaffter to visit their classrooms for the coming school year.
The WissenSchaffer are a group of seven students along with their supervisor, Dr-Ing Margarita Puentes-Damm. There were changes within the team during the coronavirus-related break and the new group is now full of energy and ready to start attracting more adolescents for technical degree programmes. “We offer a wide spectrum of activities for schoolchildren from the 5th grade through to the end of school, ranging from school lectures to projects that accompany the school year”, explains Puentes-Damm, programme coordinator and advisor for the subject of electrical engineering.
The WissenSchaffer offers include lectures as well as small-scale projects that could be completed during a morning or a single school day. The students build the electronics for a tic-tac-toe game, for instance, or they construct a “Mars robot” out of interlocking toy bricks and programme it to perform various tasks. “The aim is for schoolkids to experience just how diverse and interesting the subjects are that they would be learning about in a technical degree programme and then working on later in their professional life”, says Margarita Puentes-Damm, putting in a good word for the programme. “A degree in a technical field guarantees you a job. Graduates in the fields of electrical engineering, information systems technology and computer science can even choose a job in their desired field because companies are in urgent need of skilled workers”.
For the coming school year, the WissenSchaffer are planning to launch their own weather balloon into the stratosphere with some older schoolkids to an altitude of around 40 kilometres. Prior to that, they will be designing circuit boards and programming microcontroller chips, so that the probe can collect data during its flight. Once the probe has landed back on Earth, the schoolchildren will analyse the data and put together a presentation. An even more elaborate project has been made possible by the European Space Association (ESA) and a chip manufacturer. Here schoolchildren can send a computer programme to the International Space Station ISS and then conduct their own experiments there.
“It is not only the schoolchildren who benefit from the WissenSchaffer. Schools can also make their profiles more attractive. As far as the students go, there’s not just the appeal of a job as a student aid, it’s also an opportunity to be creative within the project and contribute their own ideas”, explains Puentes-Damm, who would be delighted to have more students on board. The WissenSchaffer still have some free spots in their calendar for the 2022/2023 school year and are available for booking now.
Text and mediacontact: Daniela Stang