Aerospace Summer School 2013

Summer school „The countdown has started“

For the third year in a row the summer school 2013 offered by the German Aerospace Academy (ASA) in cooperation with the State Education Office Böblingen (Staatliches Schulamt Böblingen) started in the last week of the summer school vacation. Under the theme “the countdown has started” 24 Werkrealschüler (students from a technical-oriented school) from the beginning 8th grade of the whole school district received teaching and were fascinated with aerospace topics. Within these different topics the pupils developed further competences, always according to their individual learning progress, in the main subjects mathematics, German and English. The young students were able to apply their theoretical knowledge in practice when they constructed rockets with different kinds of propulsion. They were welcomed by the school director Ms. Rebmann in the Goldbergschule and were feeling at home at once. On several excursions to the aerospace research centers the highly motivated young students enjoyed to play the roles of engineers and scientists.

How does a rocket work? Is there life on Mars? These questions were answered by the director of the ASA, Prof. Auweter-Kurtz and Dr. Saric, an expert for Mars, at the beginning of the week. Together with Mr. Wende, an astrophysicist, the young students discovered the Milky Way when visited the Sensapolis in Böblingen. Afterwards they showed their good head for heights in the high ropes course. An excursion on the next day took the young students to the Institute of Space Propulsion of the German Aerospace Center (DLR) in Lampoldshausen to see real rocket engines. During tests in the student laboratory together with scientists of the DLR the students saw how the rocket engines function and that a vacuum is freezing cold and completely quiet. On Thursday, the students delved even deeper into the world of science when they went to the Institute of Space Systems at the University of Stuttgart with aerospace doctoral candidate Mr. Pilz. There, they could experience up close a plasma that was generated by an electrical space propulsion. Another highlight was the simulation of the Russian Soyuz space capsule docking on to the International Space Station (ISS) – a simulation the students themselves could carry out. The flood of impressions of this eventful week was recalled through a film presentation and a weekly newspaper the students created by the end of the week.

On Tuesday, the students were particularly honored by the visit of the Ministerialdirektor of the Baden-Wuerttemberg Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs Dr. Jörg Schmidt. He picked the summer school as representative for all of the 37 summer schools throughout the state, and talked to participating young students as well as to the organizers of the Böblinger summer school to get an impression of the successful project. The motivating concept links experience with learning and is implemented according to age – a fact that provably increases the motivation and the participants’ willingness to learn. Especially the young students appreciate the relaxed learning atmosphere and do not think that the summer school represents a lost vacation week but a great experience.