Human Resources

ZEISS: Inspire enthusiasm for STEM subjects with robotics sets and experiment boxes

February 2, 2024. ZEISS provided witelo e.V. with a total of 80,000 euros last year. The support enabled the network of science and technology learning locations in Jena to revamp and renew its website. The association also purchased three 3D printers for the SFZ research workshop, robotics sets and new loan boxes for schools.

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Katja Himmelreich and Dr. Christina Walther test a research box on the topic of fluorescence, which Katja Himmelreich is lending out for a workshop with schoolchildren as part of the ZEISS initiative "A Heart for Science". Photo: ZEISS

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“Since 2012, ZEISS, as an institutional sponsor, has supported us with almost 700,000 euros. We are delighted with the additional financial support we received last year,” says Dr. Christina Walther, Managing Director of witelo e.V. and Project Manager of the Jena Student Research Center. “This enabled us to finance new robotics sets that are used in our working groups and vacation workshops. We mainly use the 3D printers for student projects.”

“We have also expanded the stock of our witelo boxes so that we now have two versions of frequently used boxes,” Walther continues. The workshop boxes were specially developed for use in study groups, lessons or for experiment enthusiasts. Schools, daycare centers and network partners have been able to borrow them free of charge since 2015. Witelo has put together boxes on various STEM topics such as water, materials, nature, the environment and measuring and weighing and provided them with instructions for teachers. The boxes are supplemented by microscopes, technology kits and robotics sets.

ZEISS initiative “A Heart for Science”

The boxes are also used by ZEISS employees who participate as volunteers in the company volunteer program “A Heart for Science”. The initiative, which was launched by ZEISS to mark the company’s 175th anniversary in November 2021, aims to get young people between the ages of 12 and 18 interested in science and technology. Employees around the world can take part by giving lectures, leading workshops or organizing STEM events, for example.

“I’m borrowing two boxes for the first time today to test which experiments I can conduct with schoolchildren,” said Katja Himmelreich, an employee at ZEISS Medical Technology. “Everyday experiments make science even more interesting and tangible for children. I am delighted that I can now easily pick up the experiment boxes from witelo.”

The two researcher boxes each contain an experiment on the subject of color. The first box is suitable for pupils in second to sixth grade and contains all the materials needed to explore the phenomenon of fluorescence using colored highlighters as an example. The second box deals with the same topic at a higher level. Here, fluorescent dyes can be obtained from plant parts and fungi. In total, witelo offers 158 different experiments that can be borrowed and used by teachers.

About witelo e.V.

witelo e.V. is a network that brings together schools, companies and extracurricular places of learning so that they can work together to promote STEM education for children and young people. With STEM education programs for children and young people, witelo enables the transition between basic interest education and top-level support. This is achieved primarily through workshops and the supervision of working groups and project work. ZEISS has been involved in the conception of witelo from the very beginning and supports the project with annual payments of 65,000 euros from the ZEISS development fund set up in October 2011.

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Photo: ZEISS

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