The Söderblom-Gymnasium has officially been a MINT school since last summer. This award is given to schools that promote the subjects of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology in a special way and anchor them sustainably in school practice, which is not so easy in times of Corona.
It is all the more remarkable that the Söderblom-Gymnasium has apparently succeeded in promoting STEM girls in spite of the long lockdown period in spring. This was demonstrated by 15 schoolgirls who took part in the nationwide “Into-MINT 4.0” competition of their own accord.
This competition is preferably set up for pupils in grades 8 to 13 and is funded by the Federal Ministry for Research and Education. Boys can take part, too, but without the chance to win. The main thing is to arouse and encourage girls’ interest in MINT subjects.
To take part, the students had to download an app with which up to 139 experiments can be carried out at home. Material available in the household was sufficient for most of the experiments. Computer science teacher Sabine Salloch had informed the students about the app and the associated competition. “They did the rest on their own.” The results were noted and accompanied by photos and submitted for review. The more experiments carried out and submitted, the greater the chances of reaching the final.
“I thought it was nice how many different attempts there were in the app and that you could choose which part you want to deal with,” says Alina Hohbein, one of the participants from the Söderblom-Gymnasium, and she adds: “Nice was also that you could exchange ideas with other participants about experiments and the app as such. ”Her classmate Lauren Wall is very interested in physics and ordered the Physics 2 starter kit for her experiments, which includes a 3-in-1 UV laser pointer -Light as well as a pen with ink that is only visible in UV light contained.
“With that,” she said, “you could do interesting experiments.” In addition, the Into-MINT team was very helpful in the event of problems, always available and with individual feedback on the submitted experiments.
Five school girls qualified for the final, which could only be held as a digital event due to Corona. Five digital workshops took place on the final day. Each participant in the final could specify a ranking. The Into-MINT team divided the respective workshops and provided the materials that were required for them in advance. Sophia Siebe opted for the “Tones, Sounds, MP3 Files” workshop, in which it was digitally analyzed what the difference between a tone and a sound is.
She had been sent a tuning fork and a hammer for this purpose. All Söderblom students had also registered for the workshop “The job that suits me”. It wasn’t so much about specific job profiles, but about developing questions “to ask yourself”: What am I good at? What I want? What is the ideal day like? What can I do tomorrow to get closer to my job? At the end, valuable tips for later study and career choices were given along the way.
The final day ended particularly successfully for Sophia Siebe: She won one of the three main prizes, an I-Pad. But the other participants were also very impressed by the competition. For Alina, who until then had no experience at all in the field of computer science, as she says, it was difficult, but still a “great and valuable experience: I can only recommend everyone to take part.”
The great commitment of the 15 students has also paid off for the Söderblom. Due to the large number of experiments that they had submitted to the competition, the Söderblom-Gymnasium was able to qualify for the school award at the federal level, along with three other schools. He then went to Bielefeld, but that doesn’t diminish the joy of this success.
“We can only hope that this will motivate many schoolchildren to become enthusiastic about MINT in the future”, says Elisabeth Müller-Prunsche, public relations officer at the educational institution.