Young up-and-coming researchers and a big bang: Promoting gifted primary school children

They made chestnut branches glow, built the simplest motor in the world and studied the formation of square numbers: Around 30 particularly interested and talented primary school students from various 3rd grade classes were guests at the TU Ilmenau at the beginning of June.

Zwei Mädchen mit einer Induktionsspule und LEDs TU Ilmenau/Barbara Aichroth
As part of the promotion of especially gifted children, the students in Year 3 not only got to know a small Stirling engine in the physics laboratory, but also made colored LEDs dance with an induction coil.

Motivating and challenging even the youngest children with exciting puzzles and STEM experiments - that is the aim of the Ilm district's talent promotion program and a collaboration with the Student Research Center at TU Ilmenau. Whether fluorescent dyes from nature, drop microscopy with pond water, polarization foils or even a small explosion: for a whole morning, the students were able to experience research live in the chemistry, physics and mathematics laboratories together with professors and other scientists from the university. They were able to ask them questions like real students and receive their certificates for participating in the gifted and talented program right at the start.

"These children are something very special," says Prof. Thomas Hotz from the Institute of Mathematics:

It's not just that they successfully engage with mathematics and science in their free time - their quick grasp is also impressive: this has enabled us to work together on mathematical topics that go beyond even the grammar school curriculum. And this is a lot of fun for both students and teachers!

The mathematics professor and his colleagues from physics and chemistry, Prof. Erich Runge and Dr. Eric Täuscher, are therefore already looking forward to opening their laboratories to young researchers again soon for more questions and aha-effects - for example at the next children's and youth university.

Older children and young people from the 10th grade onwards will have the opportunity to gain insights behind the doors of the physics and chemistry labs on June 18, 2024. This is when the Department of Mathematics and Natural Sciences invites prospective students to experience the world of science and research, attend experimental lectures and get first-hand information about the Biotechnical Chemistry, Mathematics and Technical Physics degree courses. Those who are particularly interested can even attend in-depth lectures in physics, chemistry and mathematics on request.

More information about the event "Study natural sciences for a day!"


Jenny Gramsch

Student Research Center