Research Projects for School Students - Practical MINT Talent Support in School Labs Paper
Author(s): Dieter Hausamann, (DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen, German Aerospace Center, Germany), Tobias Schüttler, (DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen, German Aerospace Center, Germany)
For the future of Europe it is of vital interest to maintain its technical and scientific excellence by attracting young talents to the MINT disciplines. One of the most efficient ways is to bring gifted youth in close and intense contact with state of the art research and development.
For DLR as Germany's national research center for aeronautics and space it is of great importance to attract young people to aerospace technology and research. Therefore, it has created the concept of the DLR_School_Labs and, by now, operates more than ten of such science labs. The DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen is one of these labs devoted to both objectives of broad education and focused MINT talent support. The lab’s expertise is based on visits of approx. 22,000 secondary school students and advanced courses for more than 2,000 teachers.
The lab’s most efficient talent support activity addresses selected groups of highly gifted secondary school students and offers them enrichment projects in which the participating school students execute long-term and complex research activities. The DLR_School_Lab has initiated several such projects in close cooperation with the Hector Seminar: The most recent projects ‘Remotely Controlled Roboting’, ‘Acoustical Satellite Navigation Simulator’, and ‘Ignition Unit Development’ required research efforts at university level; each of these projects produced a new technical development. As will also be described in this contribution, the complex scientific content of the projects initiated new working strategies for the students as well as for the supervisors, especially with respect to self-organization and self-management within the school student team.