VUB Children’s University is back. After two years without an on-campus event due to the pandemic, the Vrije Universiteit Brussel can again count on the passion and commitment of its researchers for this initiative on 3 May. They are introducing 5th- and 6th-year pupils to science and research, in unique child-sized workshops. VUB has chosen to work in a classroom setting and is focusing on schools in Brussels.
Sarah Leuridan, project coordinator at VUB’s Science Outreach Office: “With this initiative, we want to encourage children’s natural interest and curiosity. By introducing them to science, research and our university in an interactive, fun way, we send the message that they are welcome. Especially for children with parents who didn’t go to university, this is a valuable message whose impact cannot be underestimated.Offering young people future prospects like this also reduces the chance of them dropping out of school early. Particularly in Brussels, efforts are needed for this.”
The “students” start their campus day in the auditorium, where they are prepared for a day of workshops led by VUB researchers. The programme consists of a variety of activities from the natural and human sciences. The children will get DNA from a kiwi, re-enact a court case, learn about Alzheimer’s and much more.After a lively day full of workshops, the pupils graduate and celebrate with a diploma presentation by Dempsey Hendrickx, better known as Vince from the VTM series Buurtpolitie.
Science in primary education is not always easy, as most teachers are not trained in specific subjects. With the Children’s University, VUB is supporting teachers in primary education to get children excited about science.Motivating children at a young age to consider an academic career is important, as study choices are made early on in their schooldays. In addition, encouraging young people to study at a higher level considerably increases their chances of finding work.
The workshops will be repeated in the autumn, and classes can also register for individual workshops where the researchers go to Brussels schools. The VUB Children’s University also provides child-friendly teaching packages that are free to download. With these ready-to-use packages, teachers can independently use science in the classroom.
VUB Children’s Universityis part of the broader work of VUB’s Science Outreach Office, which has already launched projects such as RoboCup Junior, High Flyers and the Brussels Science Box to get children excited about science. These projects reach thousands of young people and are realised with the support of VUB alumni and the Immobel fund, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation.
Programme, 3 May
9.20-9.35 Welcome (entrance Nelson Mandela)
9.35-9.50 Welcome activity (Aula Q.B)
10.00-11.45 Workshop series 1
- Alzheimer’s: memories in the brain
- Diabetes: sensible sugar users
- Robot technology can help heal people
- The computer: a digital microscope
- Save the planet with what you eat (1)
- How do you turn your computer into a superhero?
11.45-12.45 Lunch break (student restaurant)
12.45-14.30 Workshop series 2
- The court: Ludo and Pepijn vs veterinarian De Kat
- How the human body works (lab)
- Get DNA from a kiwi
- Engineering and mechanics in 3D
- The body: our bones and muscles
- Save the planet with what you eat (2)
14.30-15.00 Snack & class photos with Dempsey Hendrickx (U-Residence, foyer)
15.00-15.30 Graduation ceremony with Dempsey Hendrickx (U-Residence, green room)
Vrije Universiteit Brussel
Use campus entrance 11
Generaal Jaqueslaan 271
Use campus entrance 9
More information about the programme and workshops:
Science Outreach Office VUB
0478 96 51 77