Students discover new worlds at the University of Konstanz

Researchers from the University of Konstanz gave students insight into the perception of insects as part of the Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar.
© Anna Stöckl, CASCB

Off to the university, away from the school desk. That was the motto for students in the 8th grade at the Humboldt-Gymnasium and for the Hegau-Bodensee-Seminar. In a week full of workshops, students gained insights into current research topics, and they were invited to conduct experiments themselves. Many researchers and employees of the University of Konstanz took part in this program.

“The aim of this workshop week is to give students the opportunity to get to know and explore new worlds by working in different extracurricular learning locations,” say the organizers Norina Procopan and Tobias Haas, teachers at the Humboldt-Gymnasium in Konstanz.

Learning how to answer questions that nobody knows the answers to yet
“With this offer, we want to bring students closer to science, teach them how to set up experiments, and show them how to answer questions that no one knows the answers to yet,” says James Foster, neurobiologist at the University of Konstanz and project leader at the Cluster of Excellence Centre for the Advanced Study of Collective Behaviour. Together with Anna Stöckl, he conducted a workshop on “Strange Sensory Worlds.”

© Elisabeth Böker

James Foster explaines the bumblebee experiment.

“We want to get participants to think about how we see the world compared to animals that are drastically different from us, such as insects, and show what differences, but also what similarities, there are,” says junior professor Anna Stöckl. “What can the senses tell us – and insects – about the world around us, and where might they mislead us?” asks the neurobiologist. In order to answer this question, students learned more about the sense of sight in humans and insects. They were also able to test their own vision, as well as that of bumblebees, in decision-making experiments.

The participants were enthusiastic “to be able to learn something outside of school,” as Eljesa K. says. Delly M. was also delighted that she was able to “look into adult life and learn about great, exciting topics."

Other workshops at the University of Konstanz dealt with climate change and sustainability, forests and climate change, or medicine and AI, and AI and mobility.

Header image: Pupils look through polarised glasses. Copyright: Anna Stöckl, CASCB

Elisabeth Böker

By Elisabeth Böker - 15.05.2024