As part of its activities to promote young talent, Composites United e.V. (CU) has a special focus on STEM areas. STEM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Promoting the interests and skills of children and young people in these disciplines is a necessary prerequisite for understanding, participating in and helping to shape the modern world with aspects such as digitalisation, sustainability, globalisation and innovation.
With this in mind, the CU, together with its partners, the CU member hochschule 21 and the district of Stade, has launched the cluster “JuMaMi – Jugend macht MI(N)T!” (“Youth doing STEM”), which is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. The cluster initiative starts and runs regular and supervised STEM education programmes on site in cooperation with after-school institutions, such as youth clubs or centres. In this way, as many girls and boys as possible can be reached regardless of mobility and adapted to their everyday lives.
On July 5, 2021, the project partners invited 20 youth workers from the district of Stade to a workshop in the solar hall of the Forschungszentrum CFK Nord. This workshop enabled those working at youth institutions to carry out simple STEM experiments themselves. The CU’s JuMaMi project coordinator Katharina Lechler is very pleased that after the long period of online meetings, a face-to-face event in compliance with Corona rules has now been realized again: “For our member companies, recruiting young professionals is a key success factor. As an association, we can support this by introducing young people to STEM topics in a playful way, thus awakening enthusiasm for technology and the natural sciences and, of course, promoting them in the long term. However, experimenting and researching together is simply best done on site!”
The adult guests had a lot of fun trying out the various stations, where material properties such as density were examined or the capillary effect simulated. To illustrate the functional principle of fibre composite technology in a very simple way, the project team had prepared an experiment with spaghetti and chocolate. The warm, liquid chocolate is split into two box moulds to cool and harden. In one of the two moulds, uncooked spaghetti was additionally placed in the hardening chocolate. After cooling, the participants were able to break the chocolate much more easily without “noodle reinforcement”.
The youth workers were enthusiastic about the workshop and are now well prepared to start STEM experiments with the kids in their institution for the summer holiday programme.