In general, the number of participants with 30 projects is about 40 percent less than in previous years. “This year is especially tough for students,” says Kirsten Biedermann, Mint Supervising Teacher at WGE. As there were meetings for all project groups where students gave each other the motivation, this was now possible only digitally. The search was also restricted to the local context and materials that were available or could be obtained there. It was not possible to visit the university laboratories or the workshops of the cooperating companies.
Carl Tiedmann developed a home homework counter. “I got the idea because classmates often have trouble memorizing their homework,” explains the ten-year-old. He competes as a solo researcher in the World of Work category. The smallest of a total of three devices equipped with a screen still has to do homework and due date. Data can be entered on an associated keyboard and deleted when finished.
“Sometimes it was really frustrating when I ran into an error and had to figure out where it was,” says a fifth grader, who has used the Arduino programming language. Since no one in his environment could help him with this particular topic, he read for hours on the Internet and delivered books.
Marisa and Melanie are also starting with small animal house sensors in the world of work category. The two 12-year-olds care for guinea pigs and rabbits. That’s why they worked on a stable monitor. The filling level of the hay rack can be monitored with the immersion sensor, and the touch sensor indicates that the stable door is not closed. They explained, “We have decided not to use sound signals in order not to disturb our animals.” So the sensors are paired with red bike lights. In 2020, sixth graders have already dealt with animal welfare and have built a foldable travel stable.
A third team deals with microplastics in sandboxes and has developed a process for removing plastic from play sand. The goal was to find a method that could be implemented using both household materials and also with greater amounts of sand.
In the innovative method, sand is poured into a solution of sodium chloride. As the density of the salt-rich water changes, the microplastics can be separated from the sand and washed away.