The University of Passau is participating in a transnational project called “MINT Learning Centre”: in mobile, practical workshops, the aim is for the students of tomorrow to learn about the applications of maths outside the classroom.
The transnational project has set itself the goal of introducing schoolchildren in the industrially and technologically strong border region of Upper Austria-Salzburg-Lower Bavaria to the practical applications of MINT skills in a fun way. The acronym MINT stands for subjects from the fields of mathematics, information technology, natural sciences and technology (MINT).
“With this project, we want to make schoolchildren enthusiastic about the natural sciences, foster their interest in the area of MINT and motivate them to study natural sciences. This is the first step towards a career related to mathematics or technology,” explains Dr Erich Fuchs, Managing Director of the FORWISS Institute at the University of Passau, who is responsible for the organisation of the initiative. In collaboration with the Johannes Kepler University Linz, which chairs the consortium, the University of Salzburg and Salzburg Research, a network of so-called MINT Learning Centres has been created. There, children from secondary schools learn, in mobile, practical workshops, what maths can be used for. These workshops can be booked by the schools and can be held either online or at the University.
University of Salzburg MINTweeks
Under the direction of staff from the University of Salzburg, so-called MINTweeks are already regularly taking place, with events from the fields of maths, physics and chemistry. In the online workshops contributed by the University of Passau, the participants can puzzle over numerical problems, use maths to tackle knots or learn why our maps are actually distorted representations.
The team led by Prof. Brigitte Forster-Heinlein, holder of the Chair of Applied Mathematics, is able to draw upon experiences from the Passau Mathematics Museum. “There are always hidden talents amongst the children,” says Forster-Heinlein, who is leading the project at the University of Passau. “I think that it is important for them to not only discover school mathematics, but also broaden their horizons with a look at practical applications. Girls in particular often think: ‘Maths is not for me’. We want to change that!” As well as workshops, the project is also developing hands-on teaching materials. With the MINT Learning Centres, the team is extending its long-standing transnational collaboration with the Austrian partners.
The initiative receives funding from the European Union “INTERREG Programme Austria – Bavaria 2014-2020”, the European Regional Development Fund and the European Structural and Investment Fund and will run until the end of June 2022.
|Principal Investigator(s) at the University||Prof. Dr. Brigitte Forster-Heinlein (Professur für Angewandte Mathematik)|
|Project period||01.01.2020 - 30.06.2022|
|Source of funding|
Europäische Union (EU) > EU - Europäischer Struktur- und Investitionsfonds (ESI-Fonds) 2014-2020 > EU - ESIF - Europäischer Fonds für regionale Entwicklung (EFRE) 2014-2020 > EU - ESIF - EFRE - INTERREG Österreich-Bayern 2014-2020