Attentive observation, independent experiments and inquisitive research. Playful and without learning pressure children between 4 and 8 years explore scientific phenomena and technological applications at the exhibition “KET – Kids Experience Technology” of the KET-tour project 2012-2015. From WED January 5 until SUN February 23, 2014, KET can be visited with its many interactive exhibits again at the Ars Electronica Center.
Der fünfjährige Sebastian macht das, was er schon immer am besten konnte: beobachten – und das ausgiebig. Einige Minuten lang steht er vor der Experimentierstation „Energie“ und lässt die anderen Kinder nicht aus den Augen, wie sie Dutzende Kübel Wasser mit vollstem Körpereinsatz hochziehen und einen erhöhten Behälter nach und nach damit anfüllen. Ein Kind öffnet schließlich den Abfluss. Das Wasser rauscht hinab, trifft auf ein Wasserrad und die daran angeschlossene Maschine, die die Kinder zuvor selbst gebaut haben, kommt in Bewegung. Nun ist das lange Warten für Sebastian vorbei. Er setzt seine eigene Maschine aus LEGO zusammen, schließt sie am Wasserrad an, füllt den Behälter randvoll mit Wasser und als sich sein Werk in Betrieb setzt, schreit er voller Freude: „Meine Kraft! Meine Kraft!“
The five-year-old Sebastian does what he always could do best: observing, extensively. For some minutes he stands in front of the experimental station “energy” and does not leave the other children out of his sight, as they pull up dozens buckets of water with the fullest physical power to fill a container bit by bit. One child finally opens the plug hole. The water rushes down, hits a water wheel and the machine connected to it that has been built before by the children is on the move. Now the long wait for Sebastian is over. He builds his own machine out of LEGO, connects it to the waterwheel, fills the container with water and as his work gets in operation, he screams with joy: “My power! My power! “
“That’s what I found so beautiful, when he saw that his strength, he has previously invested himself, then set the machine in motion”
Katja Bankhammer of the sssociation OTELO: “One sees clearly that we humans and especially children learn during gaming – and this is especially true for very young children.” The concept, to transform science and technology to a playful experience for children, has worked. Since 2009, the exhibition “Kids Experience Technology” tours through the whole of Upper Austria and inspires with several experimental stations numerous kindergarten and primary school children. In the new edition in 2012, the Ars Electronica Center as a cooperation partner of the association OTELO even contributed new stations. Thus, children from an early age get closer to the principle of coding and programming through independent try: The color sensor of the “Kritzelbot” transforms the drawings of the children into commands for a robot on the screen depending on the color.
But even with light you can experiment. In a small dark room three color lamps wait to be rotated by the children. What happens when red and green light meet? Will the light be lighter or darker?
The 4 – to 8-year-olds also learn the properties of magnets and are able to test their technical skills when they shape their own candle at the workbench under the supervision of infotrainers. And like any other design related activity this also includes clearing up.
Not only Sebastian watches gladly, also Katja Bankhammer looks constantly on the project and has received a number of positive feedback in the last few years: “Often the kindergarten educators tell us that the kids still talk about the exhibition long time after their visit. You notice that the children have thought about it.” Katja Bankhammer calls another example of how well “Kids Experience Technology” is perceived: At the “Human Power Station” children are able to produce electricity with a bicycle, with then lights the windows of a schematic house. “Look, I’m producing electricity!”, a kindergarten child calls to her supervisor. After the statement that it would be quite practical to borrow this bike for generating electricity for dark winter times at the kindergarten, the child says: “Well, but one bike is not enough!”
“Kids Experience Technology” can be visited between WED January 15 and SUN February 23, 2014, at the Ars Electronica Center in Linz. The exhibition will then continue its tour through Upper Austria until mid-2015. Ideas for continuing this project after 2015, supported by the Province of Upper Austria and the Economic Chamber of Upper Austria, are in preparation.