Enthusiasm for mathematics must be encouraged
Mathematical questions play an increasingly important role in the field of manufacturing and production technology. However, student interest in this subject remains low. Mathematics is an abstract subject and young people ask themselves: Why do I have to learn this?
Some networks and student labs in the zdi community want to counteract this imbalance. They develop mathematics courses that address everyday challenges in the manufacturing industry. Mathematics should thus become something that can be experienced in real life. For example, we recently reported on the Opening of the mathematics center of the MINT network in the Rheinisch-Bergisch district.
Digital workshops in South Westphalia make mathematics come alive
Now that started too ERDF zdi funded project MINT-Pro²Digi, developed by the University of Siegen in cooperation with zdi networks Olpe and Siegen-Wittgenstein. An essential element of this project are the "solver hubs". These are workspaces equipped with digital tools and media. The premises for solver hubs are mainly provided by partner schools and companies, with the schools involved being equipped with the appropriate digital equipment.
With the help of concrete work tasks from companies, students can experience mathematics here as a valuable aid in the development of solutions. The tasks come from the areas of production and manufacturing technology, such as modelling, production design or big data. You will receive the necessary skills in mathematics and digital technologies before starting a project.
When solving the industry-related tasks, the cross-school "solver teams" are accompanied by mathematics students from the University of Siegen. The "Solver Hubs" are basically open to students with different levels of knowledge and school types. The projects run for an entire school year and are then discussed with developers and trainers at the companies. The results should then also be applied in the company.
Project with model character
Prof. Dr. Ingo Witzke, Managing Director of Mathematics Didactics at the University of Siegen and the lead developer of the idea, presented MINT-Pro2Digi in the state capital. People there were interested in this unique project.
But what makes this project so unique?
- Nationwide effect and transferable to other regions or zdi networks in the immediate vicinity and throughout NRW
The project is carried out in cooperation with the zdi networks Siegen-Wittgenstein and Olpe. In coordination with these, other zdi networks in South Westphalia (Hochsauerlandkreis, Stadt Hagen and Märkischer Kreis, etc.) will be informed about the project. They are also invited to actively sit in on planning discussions with SMEs, take part in networking meetings or use project results. MINT-Pro stands for this2Digi for particularly authentic and pre-employment measures. School and extracurricular learning is linked. This connection is realized in the project specifically for a medium-sized area region.
- Existing structures with other MINT projects are used to address students
The MINT-Pro2Digi project is managed by the structures of the regional project "DigiMath4Edu". The teaching assistants working on the project can make students aware of the offer of the "Solver Hubs" through personal contact. In addition, the contacts of the participating zdi networks and the networking of the university with the schools are used.
- Logistical solution for a large region
The overall concept of the project takes into account the special challenges of a project in large areas such as Olpe and Siegen-Wittgenstein. The "Solver Hubs" are located in the immediate vicinity of the school, so they are easily accessible by public transport. The dates of the "Solver Hubs" and "Solver Teams" are coordinated with the local schools in such a way that as many students as possible from different school types can take part in the events. External appointments (e.g. in companies) are organized in such a way that participation is possible by using public transport or can be organized in car pools.
Example project completed successfully
Pupils developed prototypes for transitions between pipe ends with different diameters for a company in the sanitary industry. Beforehand, they learned all the necessary mathematical basics and how to use 3D printing technology. The teachers involved rated the learning curve and the motivation of their students as very good. The feedback from the young people involved was consistently positive.