On May 25th 2010, a group from Tampere in Finnland visited the DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen: 24 students, aged between 15 and 18 years, and four teachers were welcomed by the team of the DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen, led by Ingo Kaiser, Institute of Robotics and Mechatronics. This visit traces back to an advanced training course for Finnish teachers at the DLR_School_Lab Oberpfaffenhofen in the past year, which had been organised by Auli Siipola, coordinator of the network Science-verkosto funded by the Finnish Ministry of Education. From the great approval of this training course, the wish arose to enable a group of Finnish students a visit in Oberpfaffenhofen.
For one full day, the students could experience the work of a scientist. A wide range of experiments was offered, showing that infrared radiation can be used to visualize distributions of temperature by applying a special camera; that a laser can be used to measure distance and speed of objects, but also to transit data; how a rocket actually works from a physical point of view, and that it can be propelled by water; how a robot is assembled from single electronic components and how it is programmed to follow a given trajectory; and how the motions of a railway car are simulated using professional software for multi-body dynamics and why that railway car actually doesn't run straight even on a straight track. From this wide range of offers, the students could choose their two favourite experiments, which were conducted in the morning and in the afternoon.
The team of the DLR_School_Lab presented all experiments in English. This was, however, not a problem for the Finnish students. During the experiments, the students gained a deep insight and a firm understanding of scientific research, but also of every day devices like a laser scanner or apparently simple but actually highly complex systems such as a railway.
The visit was completed by a feedback, in which the students evaluated the experiments by filling out a questionnaire, but also by making oral comments about their personal experience and opinion. This feedback showed that this experimenting day provided the students a fascinating and interesting insight into science and technology. Due to the success of this day, a visit of another group of Finnish students is planned for the next year.