Three zdi actors awarded the LeLa Prize

Enabling young people to get MINT education and career and study orientation outside of school – over 400 student laboratories throughout Germany make an important contribution to this. Even in times of the Covid19 pandemic, offers are provided that offer a valuable supplement to homeschooling. For their commitment, inventiveness and creativity, ten student laboratories were awarded the "LeLa Prize" this year, with which the Federal Association of Student Laboratories eV honors the outstanding achievements of its members for the second time. This year's winners also include two zdi student labs and a program sponsored by the zdi center ANTalive. A key criterion for awarding the prize is that the award-winning offers can also be used by other student laboratories.

Build a Mars rover yourself with the zdi school laboratory

In the “digital school lab” category, the zdi school lab from Dortmund took first place with a free online offer for self-construction of a Mars rover using 3D printing technology and 5.000 euros in prize money. Mars Rover

In addition to YouTube tutorials, the offer includes all print files for self-printing of the components with a 3D printer and a material list for electronic modules. The special thing about this offer is that the Mars rover can be individually designed depending on the age group, previous knowledge and creativity. If you do not have a 3D printer available, the components can be replaced with products from the hardware store.Dr. For Ulrike Martin, the head of, the LeLa Prize above all strengthens her motivation to initiate further exciting projects: "Knowing that education is an important pillar of our society, especially in the current exceptional situation, we have many new ones , partly digital offers, because we wanted to offer more than just online workshops. So we developed a tutorial on how to build a Mars rover yourself. The fact that we received this award is a great confirmation for us and a further incentive for our work.”

With hair against the oil spill in the zdi school laboratory teutolab-chemistry

Second place in the “Experiment of the Year” category and 3.000 euros in prize money went to the zdi school laboratory teutolab-chemie at Bielefeld University. In the course "With hair against the oil spill" different absorbents in oil spills will be examined.

The course was developed in connection with the oil spill off Mauritius in 2020. Through various experiments, the students can work out a suitable way of cleaning the polluted water and analyze the polluted water quantitatively. In this way, the relationship between the adsorption quantity used and the quantity of oil absorbed becomes clear. With high topicality and relevance, the students are made aware of the topics "water shortage" and "water purification" and are shown the positive effects that MINT can also have in the area of ​​environmental protection.

Student lab CAMMP - Solving problems with mathematical modelling

The student laboratory CAMMP at the RWTH Aachen, which is funded by the zdi center ANTalive, among others, won first place in the category "MINT education for teachers". On the basis of the project, computer-aided, mathematical modeling is successfully integrated into teacher training.

The project consists of individual courses in which the participating students, together with their teachers, actively engage in problem solving with the help of mathematical modeling and the use of computers. The problems to be examined are real questions from everyday life, industry or research. For example, the students deal with the mathematics behind the recommendation algorithms of Netflix, Amazon and Co., understand how the Google search algorithm works or optimize the boarding process for airlines.

zdi session at the LeLa Annual Meeting 2021

The "LeLa Prize" was presented digitally this year at the first online LeLa annual conference. School labs from German-speaking countries come together every year at the conference, which lasts several days, to network and exchange ideas about new approaches and innovative projects in sessions and talks.

True to the motto of this year's LeLa annual conference: "Interesting - promoting - advising: How career and study-oriented are school laboratories?" The ERDF-zdi-funded project "Learning from nature: Bionic construction & 3D printing using the example of healthcare" was presented in the session. Pupils, trainees and students can get an insight into biology and technology with experiment sets. Because bionics illuminates many important STEM aspects, there are many opportunities to arouse interest in various STEM areas.

zdi student laboratories are often represented as session hosts at the LeLa annual conference. Here the zdi community can present their work, share experiences from 15 years of STEM funding and have the opportunity to provide impulses that also inspire far beyond NRW. The "LeLa Prize" expresses one thing above all: appreciation for the excellent work that student laboratories do every day in extracurricular education, especially during the corona pandemic. 

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