PSP-CLASSIC SPOTLIGHT: SudTEC – Science and technology workshops for tomorrow’s researchers

 

”It all started with RoboTEC in 2007,” explains Nicole Schlichtenhorst, who, as regional manager for PROSUD – a programme for children aged 4 to 12 that brings science into schools in the southern region of Luxembourg – runs all of the activities of this syndicate of eleven communes, yet clearly puts her heart and soul into this particular project.

Robotics and more

RoboTEC is a 3 to 6 hour long workshop for primary school children. Starting with a short theoretical introduction on robotics, informatics and mechanics, the workshop rapidly becomes hands-on and by the end, the pupils are able to program robots to run simple obstacle courses.

Since then, SudTEC has seen considerable expansion: by 2014 the programme also offered FabLABKIDS SUD (fabrication laboratory), RoboTIC SUD, ColorLAB SUD (chromatography), EnergyTEC SUD (electricity and alternative energies), Knobelspiller SUD (problem solving) and Versuch macht klug (principles of physics). The common thematic denominators are science and technology.

Nicole Schlichtenhorst and her colleague Lydia Pallucca have a clear idea of what the courses should entail. Together with a number of partners such as the SnT-University of Luxembourg, Science-Club, Déi kleng Fuerscher, l’Association des Mathématiciens Luxembourgeois and the Technoport/FabLab Luxembourg they search for ideas that are then tailored to fit SudTEC’s objectives.

A slightly different morning in school for a rising number of pupils

The primary focus of all activities is that the children have fun whilst gaining scientific knowledge. Workshops are to be interactive and allow learning by doing. Ideally, the pupils finish the day not only with a certain affinity for science and technology, but with a material reminder, such as a simple, self-manufactured electric motor, too.

Importantly, the workshops are run within school hours. While this can be an organisational challenge, it ensures availability for all. ”We do not want to be a drop in the ocean,“ says Schlichtenhorst. ”We have taken care to offer at least one workshop for every primary school cycle,“ adds Pallucca.

The programme is clearly successful: starting out with 342 pupils attending RoboTEC in the first year, the number had more than doubled a year later. By 2014, an offer of seven different workshops drew 1,224 pupils and more than twice again that number is registered to take part in 2015.

New workshops continue

Participant numbers have risen nearly 8-fold since the beginning and Schlichtenhorst and Pallucca are by no means reluctant to further expand the programme. Animators’ fees, material costs and location rent have so far been covered by the FNR’s Promotion of Science to the Public programme.

Beside a new cycle 2 workshop (KitchenLAB SUD, chemical reactions), the 2015 programme saw one other major addition: through a cooperation with the ScienteensLab run by the LCSB-University of Luxembourg, SudTEC activities now also target high school students.

This case study was originally featured in the FNR 2014 Annual Report

SEE ALSO

RELATED HIGHLIGHTS

Science meets rock’n’roll: what happens when a palaeontologist has a penchant for extreme metal music

Thanks to a unique exhibition at Luxembourg’s Natural History Museum, palaeontologist Ben Thuy has enriched both the music scene and the world of science.

PSP-Flagship: Scienteens lab – a hands-on lab for high school pupils

The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society. We take a look at the PSP Flagship supported Scienteens lab – a hands-on laboratory for high school pupils.

PSP-Flagship: BEE CREATIVE

The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society. We take a look at the PSP Flagship project BEE CREATIVE for kids, which stimulates digital and scientific skills in children.

PSP-Flagship: Science outreach with a lasting impact

The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society.

PSP-Flagship: SciTeach Resource Center

The Promoting Science to the Public (PSP)-Flagship scheme supports large, multiannual projects that aim to have a lasting impact on Luxembourg’s society. We take a look at the PSP Flagship pilot project SciTeach, an initiative supporting teachers in Luxembourg in their natural sciences education.

A microcontroller to teach programming to school children

Led by Dr Valérie Maquil, a team of researchers at LIST have developed a programmable micro-controller called ‘Kniwwelino®’, entirely designed for children from fundamental schools and “maisons relais” in Luxembourg. The micro-controller is not only a big success with children, but also introduces them to what will likely become a fundamental skill in the future: programming.

Luxembourg Science Center – a hands-on science and technology experience

Lifting yourself up with a pulley or feeling electrical tension on your body – all this is possible at the new Luxembourg Science Center, which is supported by the FNR’s Promoting Science to the Public (PSP) programmes.

PSP Classic: Indiana Jos – in the footsteps of researchers and explorers

Educators of day care centres and youth houses gear up: with training courses and experimental workstations in natural sciences and technology.

This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies for analytics purposes. Find out more in our Privacy Statement