Extracurricular learning venue develops project week for SPARCS
02 march 2023 | Location: Leipzig
Citizen Engagement

During the 2021/2022 school year, an educational programme was developed and implemented at the VDI GaraGe as part of the SPARCS project. The VDI GaraGe Leipzig is an extracurricular place of learning that aims to get children and young people interested in STEM subjects. In addition to the learning worlds of robotics, materials and automation, the learning area “Resources” is also located there. The existing offer could be expanded with the help of the SPARCS cooperation. The project week developed is aimed at pupils in the 9th and 10th grades and is intended to introduce them to the topics of energy transition and sustainability and to arouse their interest in them.

Since the majority of the classes visit the VDI GaraGe every fortnight as part of their lessons, the topics were divided into individual modules that can be carried out consecutively.

After the participants have been taught the basics of electricity supply and various primary energy sources, they are introduced to the topic of climate change and environmental protection by means of a game that simulates the influence of humans and industry on the climate. In this way, even students who have not yet had any contact with these topics can find an approach to them.

In order to motivate the participants to become active themselves, the programme includes a highly practical component. For example, experiments are carried out on silicon solar cells, dye solar cells are produced and the influence of insulation on heating energy requirements is investigated.

These topics are also dealt with creatively. On one project day, the pupils produce stop motion films on the topics covered.

The project week ends with an excursion during which the participants explore the west of Leipzig with the help of a “digital scavenger hunt”. At various stations, they can discover which projects are being implemented within the framework of SPARCS.

The participants visit the Baumwollspinnerei, the Dunckerviertel and the newly built terminal in the Lindenauer Bushof and – with the kind support of the SPARCS partners – receive a lot of information there about e-mobility, energy management systems, tenant electricity and intelligent heating control.

It became clear that there are very different levels of knowledge and interest in the topic of energy transition in the participating classes. The project week tries to respond to the different participants in the best possible way. This often led to lively discussions.

During the evaluation of the lessons, it became clear that the practical part in particular was very well received:

“I liked the fact that we were allowed/could do so much ourselves. The do-it-yourself projects were a lot of fun and not difficult to understand.”

“I would like to do more experiments. They were a lot of fun and in comparison the theory was not so exciting.”

“You learned a lot through play”

In the current school year, the project week is also being held at the VDI GaraGe with seven groups. The excursions will take place in the end of April.

Author: Judith Rother