Klaus Kaiser cautiously bends over the plate on which he has sprinkled salt and pepper. Just don't get too close and inhale the spices. Then he holds a plastic stick to the granules and they start to move slowly, dancing on the plate. The peppercorns will stick to the stick. The Secretary of State smiles.
What sounds like a magic trick is one of the experiments that the zdi center MINT4u Bottrop shows the participants to imitate in its escape room technology. The pen was previously rubbed on clothing so that it could become statically charged - and with this electrical charge the lighter peppercorns were attracted. An experiment that can cheer up many a rainy afternoon with children.
The online course is one of over 200 workshops organized by the zdi community during the summer holidays. Due to the corona pandemic, many measures are currently taking place in digital form. The online courses are in no way inferior to the face-to-face courses when it comes to MINT experience and so there is also digital tinkering, puzzling and researching. Because the feedback is consistently positive, some of the 47 zdi networks now want to permanently establish their digital course offerings.
"I find it very impressive what the zdi networks have achieved in the past few months under the most difficult circumstances," says Klaus Kaiser. As Parliamentary State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Science of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, he is responsible for zdi. "With creativity and expertise, a remarkable range of digital courses was created that enables schoolchildren to work on their favorite topics related to mathematics, computer science, natural sciences and technology from home and during the holidays," says Kaiser.
Fun and fascination in escape room technology
Today he explored the digital summer vacation program of the zdi networks and took part in the online course "Escape Room Technology". Together with the seven participants in the course, he was "locked" in a virtual room and had to try to find a way out of the escape room with the young people using experiments and scientific puzzles.
If a riddle could not be solved right away, the youngsters could use a joker. "Here, of course, the focus is on having fun, combined with the fascination for scientific phenomena," says lecturer Daniela Hockmann. However, whether the participants really escape from the room will not be seen until tomorrow: It is a two-day course that lasts two hours each morning. But Daniela Hockmann is confident that the group will solve the remaining puzzles without any problems.
You can find more exciting offers from the zdi community during the summer holidays here.