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"Interactive Science – Kick-Off for the JKU Science Holidays Program"

Starting August 3, 600 children will experience the Johannes Kepler University Linz campus as a space of interactive science.

Start of the JKU Science Holidays Program
Experiments at the JKU Open Lab during the 2020 Science Holidays Program

How do you operate on a brain? What does the inside of the human body look like? What do origami and math have in common? The 2020 JKU Science Holidays program invites children to conduct research, discover new things, and engage in physical activities. Supported by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research, for the first time, the JKU is offering free, all-day supervision during August.

JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas remarked: "Being curious and learning through play are the foundation for further knowledge and progress. Seeing our campus full of so many lively and active children this year is a ray of hope during this most challenging year. I am very happy about the level of commitment our scientists and academics have shown. Instructors include the chair of the Faculty of Medicine and top researchers in natural sciences to our experts in the field of law. Our best minds have created fun and educational workshops for children.”

Children between the ages of 6 and 14 can expect to take part in an exciting, age-appropriate program of workshops, seminars, and field trips to learn more about natural sciences, technology & engineering, law, medicine, business, social issues, and biology. Courses range from programming a computer game, workshops about young peoples’ everyday rights, ad origami courses to telescopes that can bend light, nutritional workshops, a campus scavenger hunts, physics experiments, soccer training, and field trips to the Linz Botanical Garden, the Biology Center, and the Ars Electronica Center.

Program coordinator Bernadette Weinreich remarked, "There will certainly be no time to be bored. Starting August 3 to August 28, educators and JKU workshop leaders will look after the children and teens for an entire week. The kids will be divided into 10 small groups with a maximum of 15 children each. The program has proven very popular and over 1500 children registered by the deadline. The 600 program spots were allocated through a random drawing and workshops were organized over a four-week period."

External partners include the Linz Botanical Gardens, the Biology Center, the Ars Electronica Center, Academica Superior, the Faculty of Medicine, the Linz Zoo, and the Red Cross Linz (Red Cross Youth).

Play, Conduct Research, Learn, and Eat at the JKU Campus
The JKU has hired 20 qualified educators, student teachers, a certified leisure educator, and an outdoor trainer for the program to supervise and oversee the groups each week. During half-day programs without scheduled activities, the educators will play games with the children, do arts & crafts, and other activities.

The university cafeteria will provide lunch. The budding researchers can choose from two different menus (1x meat, 1x vegetarian) with soup, salad and a beverage. The SPAR headquarters in Marchtrenk has donated €400 for muesli bars and beverages. Fruit is also provided during the afternoon. The city’s public transportation company Linz Linien is a program sponsor and the children can use public transportation free of charge for their scheduled field trips.
Approximately 70 JKU scientists have organized exciting workshops that will be fun, educational, and include some physical activity.

Robert Zillich (Institute of Theoretical Physics) will oversee a workshop titled "DIY Hovercraft".
"After building a small, balloon-propelled hovercraft models ourselves using old CDs, we will conduct experiments to find out what kind of surfaces the model hovercraft can glide over and how much weight they can carry. Then we will try building a larger hovercraft that can carry one or two children."

Practicing Hygiene and Safety in Lieu of the Current PandemicIn regards to measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, the JKU is adhering to strict hygiene and safety mandates as outlined by the Austrian Federal Ministry of Education and Research for summer camps. The JKU will be limiting group sizes (=20) to 15 children per group and making sure hand sanitizing dispensers, etc. are readily available. Parents will be required to wear a face mask when dropping off and picking up their kids as well as maintain distance from other groups. Face masks will be provided for scheduled field trips when using public transportation.

JKU Science Holidays – Facts & Figures

  • 1,509 requests for a spot in the program
  • 600 spots allocated over a 4-week period; three age groups
  • Each week: 150 children divided into 10 groups
  • Spots were allocated through random selection
  • There are approximately 10 external partners: the Biology Center, Botanical Garden, AEC, ZMF, Red Cross Youth of Upper Austria
  • 20 trained educators and student teachers
  • 80 different workshops organized by JKU researchers and external partners, some of which are offered a few times
  • 360 workshop dates and/or field trips

A Few Highlights from the JKU Science Holidays Program:How do you operate on a brain?
A special microscope at the Kepler University Hospital will be brought to campus for a

workshop at the Center for Medical Education (ZML).

A Virtual Journey through the Human Body (at the Ars Electronica Center)
Whether organs, muscles, bones, the cardiovascular system or the nervous system – the inside of the human body will be explored layer by layer through vivid, unforgettable 3D visualizations.

Making Law Simple - Legal Literacy Project Linz
Laws for Every Day; Young People and Criminal Law; My Europe - Living in Europe
Interactive workshops about current and exciting legal issues aim to provide kids with basic legal education.

School Students Conduct Research for "COVID 19 - Contact Tracing"
Create measurement data to use a mobile phone and see who you have had contact to.
This workshop focuses on teaching school students about scientific measurements and how they are documented. Different stations provide technical background information about mobile phones and communication. In a playful way, students become more aware about how  COVID-19 is spread.

From Flash to Photo - The World of Photography (Open Lab)
Photography has never been as easy as it is today. But how were photos taken and developed before mobile phones and digital cameras? Kids at the JKU Open Lab will learn about iron blue printing, flash powder, and light-sensitive salting. Exciting experiments show just how a negative is created from an object, how photographers created sufficient lighting to take photos in earlier times, and how fascinating it is to develop a photo yourself.

Logifaces - Playing with Geometries, Analogue Games for Digital Minds - Puzzle Your Geometry
Students will hardly realize they are learning about geometry because did you know that you don't have to learn math - you already know it! Students playing Logifaces will realize this quickly. Although the game seems very simple and straightforward at first, it quickly becomes a special mathematical challenge. Do you have what it takes to do a math puzzle and are you up to the challenge of learning a little about art on the side?

Origami and Mathematics
How do you make origami figures? Can you fold a sheet of paper the way you want to? Can you construct an equilateral triangle without using a compass or a ruler? This workshop will introduce you to the world of origami and show you that a little math is involved.