Exposing children from neighbourhoods with socio-economic disadvantages to Science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education and vocational paths

In a dynamic collaboration between academia and young minds, 12 enthusiastic children from a school in Delft recently embarked on an enriching journey into the Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM). This event was part of the project - Bliksmestage - of JINC organisation. Community Engagement programme of the Communications department of the TU Delft has established a partnership with JINC and Bliksemstage project is part of the agreement. The project aims to expand the horizons and opportunities of young student in targeted areas. -JINC- works with schools in different cities in the Netherlands and offers a range of programmes, in their efforts to ensure that --your postcode does not define your future-. At the Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, and Computer Science (EEMCS) buildings, this half-day outreach programme served as a gateway to ignite curiosity and passion for these pivotal disciplines. It is important to mention that next to professions associated with the research disciplines of the faculty, the students got the opportunity to get acquainted with the research facilities and labs!

The expedition started with a warm welcome at the entrance of EEMCS, where the young visitors were guided through the buildings of our campus, including visiting lecture halls and even the HyperLoop site. Next to the tour, the children delved deeper into the heart of computer science, exploring the renowned INSIGHT Lab. Here, they witnessed firsthand the world of robotics, engaging with Pepper robot and acquainting themselves with other fascinating robots like.

Transitioning into the world of Electrical Engineering, the young learners experienced the Tellegen Hall. Through a blend of theory and practice, they solved the mysteries of electric circuits, delving into concepts such as electric charge, current, voltage, resistance, and the transformative power of piezoelectricity. They experimented and witnessed the tangible effects of mechanical strain on resistance and the fascinating interplay between creativity and scientific principles.

This event offered the young visitors the change to get a full experience of the university world, inside a very cool lecture room during a Lego Optimization Game. The participants eagerly collaborated in small groups, trying to find the optimal solution. As part of the gameplay, a lecturer unveiled the mathematical underpinnings behind the game, showcasing the pathways towards optimization and cutting-edge software solutions.

As the day drew to a close, the children departed with newfound knowledge, endless possibilities, and a tangible reminder of their extraordinary journey-a goodie bag with a diploma of participation and a thought-provoking brochure entitled "Why should I study math’". Young students asked many targeted questions and stayed engaged and curious through all the phases of the event. Their reactions at the end of this day and especially when interacting with robots showed that the day was a success!