echt.MACHEN: First run-through for student project

Project week at school brings entrepreneurial skills to hearts and minds

The motto of echt.MACHEN, the new Univations project for pupils in Saxony-Anhalt, is: A school year. Your project. The pilot phase has been running since October and over 250 children and young people are taking part. They receive support for one school year to develop and implement their very own project ideas. It started with idea workshops at 9 schools, in which the participants explored their interests and derived topics for possible projects.

At the beginning of November, 25 pupils from Giebichenstein-Gymnasium "Thomas Müntzer" in Halle (Saale ) experienced a premiere. The ninth and tenth graders were given a quick run-through of all the content and activities offered by echt.MACHEN. At the school's request, project managers Sandra Bier and Katharina Nordhaus designed a echt.MACHEN project week for the participants - without cutting any corners.

The students of the Giebichenstein-Gymnasium "Thomas-Müntzer" are the first to experience echt.MACHEN in fast-forward.

"On Monday, we started with the idea generation workshop," says Katharina Nordhaus. "On Tuesday and Wednesday, the focus was on the project model canvas and working on the project ideas we had chosen ourselves, and on Thursday we looked at poster design and presentation techniques."

Lots of ideas in 5 days

The two Univations employees had prepared many interactive exercises so that all participants felt as confident and comfortable as possible during the final presentation on stage. The location of the project week was also not an everyday one. Instead of a classroom, the students worked in the baroque rooms of the Francke Foundations. 

During the 5 days of echt.MACHEN, a number of exciting ideas and matters of the heart were developed. One group, for example, developed a project to help junior referees. "We all play soccer ourselves," says Jamie, 15 years old. "But there's a shortage of referees at youth level. Only a few want to do the training at all." One reason for this is the mental pressure on referees. "We want to support them with our app, with networking and with further training. This could make the job more attractive again and keep the game going," says the sophomore.

Will Jamie and his team members also want to go into implementation after the week? "I'll be honest, it's a big time issue. With four training sessions plus games a week, it's going to be tough. But I could well imagine making a difference now," says Jamie. And his teammate Nick adds: "I think it's good that we've been given things for life, for example for presentations. It feels like you give presentations at school every week. The workshops here were great for that."

Successful pitches for the final

During the days with echt.MACHEN, a group of girls developed the idea for a special school room. Pupils should have the opportunity to receive psychological support in this room. The difference to existing services: A visit is mandatory for everyone and therefore anonymous. "If everyone goes, mental health problems are no longer a taboo subject, they become normalized," says 14-year-old Henriette. During the echt.MACHEN project week, they learned what it takes to actually implement this idea. "We now know that we need a schedule and certain resources," says Anni, also 14 years old. "Without the tips and materials during the week, we wouldn't have even had the idea that we needed to think about it at all."

Andrea Meitzner, the teacher in charge of the project week, was delighted. "The pupils try their hand at something completely new as part of echt.MACHEN. They develop their own ideas and pursue them for a week. It's really exciting," says the math teacher. "Whether presentation methods or answers to the question of how to set up a lecture - the students were offered a lot."

Daniel Worch, Managing Director of Univations GmbH, did not miss the final presentations on Friday. "The pitches showed that the students were well prepared and learned a lot in the short time available," said Worch. "The result was definitely worth it."

Conclusion: It works!

echt.MACHEN also works in fast-forward mode, the creators are convinced after their experience with the Giebichenstein-Gymnasium. "Our main takeaway from the project week is that we can also offer this format to schools in Saxony-Anhalt," says Sandra Bier. The project week was the first opportunity to try out the echt.MACHEN concept with schoolgirls. "The workshops we have developed and the methods we use work well to motivate pupils to come up with their own project ideas." In addition, it is possible to teach key entrepreneurial skills and really teach the students something that, according to Sandra Bier, "gets into their hearts and minds".

Contact persons

Sandra Bier

Mail: bier@univations.de

Phone: +49 345 13 14 27 06

Katharina Nordhaus

Mail: nordhaus@univations.de

Phone: +49 345 13 14 27 06

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