More quantum physics please! New ideas for school lessons

MINT EC eV

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The ct.qmat cluster of excellence of the universities of Würzburg and Dresden together with the national network of science excellence
THEME EC
started a project aimed at introducing the latest research results in quantum physics into school lessons as soon as possible. Now secondary and high school teachers from all over Germany meet in Dresden to exchange ideas with scientists. The emphasis is on the research fields of ct.qmat and a revolutionary approach to playfully conveying the content of quantum physics: gamification. The starting point is the award-winning ‘Cat Q – Quantum Adventure’ game application.

Dresden, September 13, 2022: On Thursday, September 15, 2022, the inaugural meeting of the MINT-EC thematic cluster on quantum physics will begin – a joint project of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – The complexity and topology of quantum materials the universities of Würzburg and Dresden, and the national network of scientific school excellence MATERIAL EC. Over the next two years, teachers from all over Germany want to develop school materials that can be used to integrate current quantum physics content into the curriculum of the first physics lesson in grade 6. Thematic starting point is an intensive exchange with scientists at ct.qmat. Particular emphasis is placed on approaches to gamification. A prime example of this is the Cluster of Excellence application “Cat Q – a Quantum Adventure”, which has already been downloaded 150,000 times and has received numerous awards.

Germany is one of the leading countries when it comes to promoting quantum technologies. But there is also a shortage of skilled workers in science, especially in basic science. That is why we set ourselves the task of making children and adolescents interested in physics and our research – he explains prof. Matthias Vojta, Dresden Speaker of the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat. Together with the teachers of the German MINT-EC schools, the researchers at ct.qmat are therefore implementing the application-oriented and entertaining demand for a new modular school material on quantum physics.

Gamification: learning physics made easy

In current didactics, educational games are considered a promising approach to teaching scientific content and quantum physics in schools. Especially in physics lessons, they turn out effective as Carsten Albert emphasizes. In the Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat, the scientist studies the use of gamification elements in physics lessons. “Previous studies confirm digital educational games in school lessons positive influence on motivation, learning success and social interaction. This is mainly due to the closeness of the digital native generation to digital media, ”says Albert. “The one created in the Cluster of Excellence “Cat Q” mobile game it hits the spirit of the times not only thematically but also didactically. Since it was developed for children from the age of eleven, it can already be used in the first year of physics lessons. “

Status quo: quantum physics in German schools

In Germany, quantum physics has so far only been taught in secondary schools and according to the traditional historical approach. Only in the Bavarian curriculum is this provided for in the 10th grade. All the Länder represent the basic principles of quantum physics, but not their fascinating phenomena or revolutionary applications. “The technical development in recent years in the field of quantum materials and technologies is groundbreaking. If Germany really wants to play a pioneering role here, the latest scientific discoveries must reach the classroom quickly and much earlier, ”he emphasizes. Vojta.

Teachers and researchers work together

In order for students to benefit from new discoveries at an early stage, teachers and researchers need to exchange professional knowledge. Therefore, at the two-day inaugural meeting of the MINT-EC thematic cluster on quantum physics in Dresden on September 15, 2022, we will focus on the four research fields of the ct.qmat cluster of excellence: topological electrons, magnetism quanta, topological photonics and topological functionality. The second day is devoted to didactics of quantum physics. During the next two-year project period, interested teachers may join the project at any time. The aim is to develop innovative concepts and practical materials for physics lessons. Finally, the results will be published as part of the MINT-EC series of publications and will be available as modular school material.

Participating schools

Berthold Brecht High School Dresden

Ulricianum Aurich Junior High School

Gutenberg School in Wiesbaden

Secondary school Helmholtz in Bonn

Hölderlin Gymnasium in Heidelberg

Jakob-Fugger-Gymnasium Augsburg

Johann Schöner High School in Karlstadt

Kaiserin-Friedrich-Gymnasium Bad Homburg

Junior high school Kaiser Karls in Aachen

Steinhagener Junior High School in Steinhagen

University School of Dresden

You can find a wide selection of additional graphic, text and video materials on our media server: https://www.kamibox.de/katzeQ-media

All files can be freely used for reporting in the “Cat Q” application subject to author confirmation.

Application for the game “Cat Q – Quantum Adventure”

The award-winning mobile game “Katze Q” is designed to playfully introduce children and teenagers from the age of eleven – especially girls – to learning math, computer science, natural science and engineering (MINT) options. Physics in particular is one of the disciplines with a particularly low percentage of women. With ‘Katze Q’, the ct.qmat research alliance from the universities of Würzburg and Dresden is taking an extraordinary approach to recruiting young talent as it targets a very young target group. The mobile game is available on the App and Play Store from autumn 2021. So far, the app has been downloaded 150,000 times worldwide.

Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat

Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat – complexity and topology in quantum matter (Complexity and Topology in Quantum Materials) has been implemented jointly by the Juliusz Maximilian University in Würzburg and TU Dresden since 2019. Almost 300 scientists from over 30 countries and four continents study topological quantum materials that reveal surprising phenomena under extreme conditions such as ultra-low temperatures, high pressure and strong magnetic fields. The Cluster of Excellence is funded under the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state government – as the only interstate cluster in Germany.

THEME EC National Network of Schools of Excellence

MINT-EC is a national network of school excellence with an upper secondary education and a strong profile in Mathematics, Computer Science, Life Sciences and Technology (MINT). It was founded by employers in 2000 and works closely with their regional educational initiatives. MINT-EC provides a wide range of events and support for students, as well as further training and professional exchanges for teachers and school management. The network, which currently numbers 338 certified schools with approximately 350,000 students and 29,500 teachers, has been under the patronage of the Conference of the Ministers of Education of the Länder (KMK) since 2009. The main sponsors of MINT-EC are the employers’ association Gesamtmetall as part of the think ING initiative. as well as the Siemens Foundation and the Bavarian employers’ associations bayme vbm and vbw.

Contact person for journalists

Katja Lesser, Scientific Communication Advisor, Cluster of Excellence ct.qmat, Tel: +49 351 463 33496, katja.lesser@tu-dresden.de

Ansprechpartnerin Presse MINT-EC:
Annelie Gerbsch
Öffentlichkeitsarbeit und Digitale Kommunikation
MINT-EC e.V.
Am Borsigturm 15
13507 Berlin
 gerbsch@mint-ec.de 
 www.mint-ec.de
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