To content

Team develops optics experiment box for elementary school in Uganda

  • News
  • News
© Marc Schulte​/​ TU Dortmund

A team of students from the Department of Mechanical Engineering has won the competition with the development of the "Lab Light Board". In the "Engineers without Borders Challenge", in which around 1,000 students from 11 German universities competed against each other in the winter semester of 2023/24, the expert jury awarded their project first place.

Diyar Karabulut, Vincenzo Madeo, Florian Mindthoff, Maximilian Nocon, Marc Schulte and Lukas Weßeler designed and built an optics experiment box for elementary school in Uganda. They are studying industrial engineering and mechanical engineering and took part in this year's Engineers Without Borders Challenge as part of a seminar on project management. In this Germany-wide competition, students develop solutions for real problems in development cooperation. Engineers Without Borders e.V. provides challenges from its international project work as tasks and enables direct contact with implementation partners in the target regions. In this way, the students not only apply their technical knowledge in practice when working on the task, they also deal with issues of sustainability, social responsibility and cultural differences.

This year, the focus was on elementary school in Uganda as part of the "Basic supplies for schools" program run by Ingenieure ohne Grenzen e.V. (Engineers without Borders). Due to a lack of equipment, low funding and large classes with 40 to 60 pupils, teaching in the primary school system in Uganda is often very theoretical. The task of the challenge was therefore to develop experimental kits for science lessons in grades 5 to 7. These should contain introductory experiments on STEM topics with an "aha" effect that pupils can carry out themselves in groups. The students had to consider which materials were available and workable on site, sufficiently robust for use in schools and cost-effective at the same time.

Diyar, Vincenzo, Florian, Maximilian, Marc and Lukas developed an experimentation board with a plug-in system for optical components such as lenses or mirrors and a flexible experimentation light, which they adapted to the special conditions in the classrooms in Uganda. In the final online event of the Engineers Without Borders Challenge, they competed against the best teams from the 11 participating universities and presented their concept with a short video to an international jury of experts consisting of representatives from NGOs, scientific experts and Ugandan teachers. With their well thought-out concept, excellent technical implementation and the experimental materials developed, the team was able to convince the jury and was awarded first place.


The video of the project: