Pressemitteilung der Wirtschaftsförderung Dortmund
Pupils are the scientists of tomorrow
Dortmund, 21 December 2007. Interview with Dr. Ulrike Martin, head of the new child and youth technology centre KITZ.do in Dortmund, on the interest of children and young people in science and research, the importance of independent research projects and the fascination of the natural sciences.Bild: Dr. Ulrike Martin
Dr. Ulrike Martin, head of the new child and youth technology centre KITZ.do in Dortmund
Ms. Martin, what will KITZ.do offer to children and young people in Dortmund in the future?
Through KITZ.do, the new technology centre specially for children and young people, we want to arouse an enjoyment of natural sciences and technology. We give junior researchers the opportunity to experiment and carry out projects on their own. At the same time they are supported by experienced scientists and researchers who not only help them in conducting experiments, but also teach them scientific working methods and approaches. We view the children and young people as researchers and inventors after all, the pupils of today are the potential scientists of tomorrow.
What age groups are the activities offered by KITZ.do aimed at?
Thats the special feature of the KITZ.do concept: we want to address children and young people of all age groups from kindergarten and primary school children to grammar and high school graduates, very closely oriented to the school curricula. Altogether there are several institutions similar to KITZ.do, but our approach of starting right from kindergarten is unique up to now. This also poses a great challenge for us.
Can you explain the planned activities for the various age groups in more detail?
The focus will be on everyday issues, i.e. environment and life, water, substances and minerals or soil and rock. The degree of difficulty of our activities varies depending on the age group, and the children or young people can carry out simple to complicated laboratory tests. Older pupils are given the opportunity to research on their own in the pupils laboratory at KITZ.do. Furthermore, they can carry out some projects jointly with companies, research institutions and the University of Dortmund, with which we cooperate closely. In this way we want to improve the young peoples scientific understanding. At KITZ.do they learn, for example, how to determine length, time, cubic content and mass using measuring instruments or how to describe chemical, biological and geological phenomena with simple models. By contrast, the activities offered to younger children, like kindergarten groups, apply a more playful approach. The main focus here is to arouse initial interest in trying things out. For this purpose were developing experiment cases for future use in kindergartens at the moment, among other things. Through KITZ.do we want to convey the fascination of the natural sciences to all age groups.
How do you assess KITZ.dos work for the Dortmund location?
In the long run our aim is also to ignite enthusiasm for science and research and thus arouse interest in university studies or vocational training in the field of the natural sciences. Dortmund, too, can profit from this in the future when it comes to counteracting the expected shortage of skilled labour in the region.
When will KITZ.do be launched in 2008?
Our plan is to start up with KITZ.do after the Easter holidays. Up to then we have a bit of work ahead of us. KITZ.do will have a well equipped pupils laboratory with numerous measuring, working and laboratory devices, seminar rooms, a workshop and an evaluation room. We are now working intensively on this so the two permanent employees of KITZ.do, along with me, our research assistants from the University of Dortmund and several volunteers, can get going next year.
Dr. Ulrike Martin studied geology and got her PhD in volcanology at Otago University in New Zealand. The 47-year-old geologist has been in charge of the GEO Centre at the Continental Deep Drilling project in Bavaria since 2005. As head of the learning site outside school and the geo-scientific demonstration laboratory for pupils, the native of Karlsruhe set up the teaching lab there and developed learning modules. Through her connections to the pupils laboratory network LeLA (the laboratory as a place of learning), the qualified chemical laboratory technician was able to gain valuable experience in setting up pupils labs. Dr. Martin will assume the position as new head of KITZ.do in Dortmund on 1 January 2008.
The Dortmund children and youth technology centre KITZ.do goes back to an initiative of the City of Dortmund Economic Development Agency and is based on a broad network of partners. In addition to the organization schul.inn.do and the local universities, the Dortmund Foundation, established by local citizens in 2000, makes intensive efforts to promote the natural sciences. In May 2007 KITZ.do was among the winners of the idea competition of the state initiative Zukunft durch Innovation.NRW (Future through Innovation.NRW) of the Ministry for Innovation, Science, Research and Technology in North Rhine-Westphalia.
Mr Pascal Ledune
Töllnerstr. 9-11, 44122 Dortmund
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